Monday, May 16, 2011

Free Captain Elliott's Party Boats (cont.).... (UPDATED)

(please scroll to bottom of post for update)

Despite the door for allowing anymore applicants allegedly slamming shut back in December, waivermania keeps rolling and shows no sign of slowing down!

The Obama administration approved 204 new waivers to Democrats' healthcare reform law over the past month, bringing the total to 1,372.

The waivers are temporary and only apply to one provision of the law, which requires health plans to offer at least $750,000 worth of annual medical benefits before leaving patients to fend for themselves. Still, Republicans have assailed the waivers as a sign of both favoritism and of major problems with the law.

"The fact that over 1,000 waivers have been granted is a tacit admission that the healthcare law is fundamentally flawed," Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in March. Upton is one of three House committee chairmen who has used new oversight powers to investigate the annual limit waivers.

At 1,372 waivers to businesses and unions who fought so hard for ObamaCare, that is nearly twice the amount since the Dept. of Health and Human Services bothered to update their waiver list back at the end of January. 646 more waivers in less than 4 months? Not too shabby. Can you blame them, though? Who's got time for paperwork, messy admin. stuff and transparency when you are scrambling to save employers from ObamaCare.

And speaking of transparency and despite the administration's claim to the contrary, no one, still, really knows what is the qualifying criteria for being granted a waiver. Picking winners and losers, baby?

(UPDATE #1): The hits, they just keep on coming: look who else is trying to get out from under the burdensome requirements of Obamacare.

The new health care law is supposed to fix the problem by guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for all. But many nursing homes and home care agencies, alarmed at the cost of providing health insurance to hundreds of thousands of health care workers, have started a lobbying effort seeking some kind of exemption or special treatment.

Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association, the largest trade group for nursing homes, says the problem is that reimbursement rates for Medicaid and Medicare, set by government agencies, do not pay them enough to offer their employees medical coverage. “We do not have much ability to increase prices because we are so dependent on Medicaid and Medicare” for revenue, he said.

Mr. Parkinson acknowledged that when nursing homes do offer health insurance to employees, the benefits are often limited. The coverage “is probably not up to what will be required” by the federal law, he said.

The problem is compounded by the fact that the current deplorable condition of individual state finances has forced cuts to Medicaid in many states.

Suffice to say, intense lobbying efforts on behalf of nursing homes and home care agencies have begun to either exempt them from ObamaCare altogether or, at least, grant them tax credits for the penalties they would pay for not providing coverage to their employees because they simply cannot afford to do so under ObamaCare fiat.

Nancy Pelosi was right: now that we have passed the bill, we really are finding out what is in it and more importantly how it is impacting this nation's employers and employees.

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