Several Obamacare Waiver-mania items for you this morning as we stay on top of this issue and force the Dems/Left to reckon with their abject failure.
1. First, here’s Rush on the Obamacare escapees:
2. GOP Sen. Pat Roberts was on the floor yesterday lambasting health care rationing czar Donald Berwick during a hearing interrupted by a Senate vote. Roberts would have addressed the waiver issue had he been able to ask Dr. Berwick his questions. From his statement:
…I have been shocked by the number of Obamacare waivers that have been coming out of the Department of Health and Human Services. According to the New York Times, one hundred and eleven waivers have been granted to employers to allow them to avoid the new health insurance mandates.
The only thing more shocking than the number of waivers is who is getting them. Would you believe that they are some of the most ardent supporters of health care reform?
Unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Federation of Teachers, and the Transport Workers Union have all applied for and been granted waivers from the rules.
The fact is, Obamacare is bad for business, bad for workers, bad for seniors, and bad for taxpayers.
Dr. Berwick: When will the American people get a waiver from Obamacare?
Repeal this bill.
Sen. Roberts has more on the waivers here.
3. Here’s my report on Hannity from Wednesday night:
4. Amanda Carpenter tweeted an excellent suggestion yesterday: “Whoever writes the ObamaCare repeal bill should title it ‘The Great American Waiver Act.'”
5. There is now a bipartisan Obamacare waiver bill to free states from the federal mandates. As I noted a few months ago, Obamacare supporter Ron Wyden has been clamoring to free his state of Oregon of some of the requirements. He introduced legislation with GOP Sen. Scott Brown to loosen even more of the rules for states:
A Democrat and a Republican teamed up in the U.S. Senate Thursday to offer legislation that would give states the flexibility to implement their own healthcare approaches when the federal overhaul goes into full effect in 2014.
The proposal by Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Scott Brown moves up the date when states can apply for waivers from the federal law in order to implement their own approaches.
The law, which passed in March, currently allows states to apply for waivers in 2017.
Under the Wyden and Brown proposal, states could apply for an exemption from some requirements of the reform law — including the mandate that everyone purchase insurance and the employer penalty for not providing coverage — if they offer an alternative that is considered at least as effective and affordable.
“States shouldn’t be forced by the federal government to adopt a one-size-fits all healthcare plan.
6. O.K. Industries in Fort Smith, Arkansas has released a statement on its waiver:
Mike Evans, director of benefits for O.K. Industries, issued the following statement about the waiver:
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. For plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010, the law requires, among other things, the immediate elimination of lifetime dollar limits on benefits and a graduated increase in annual benefit limits.
“We offer our employees a choice between two health insurance plans. One has lower annual and lifetime limits than the other and the premium paid by the employee is lower as well. Our employees choose which plan they wish to participate in.
“Under PPACA we would no longer be able to offer our employees the option of lower limits in exchange for lower premiums. As a result of national news coverage about companies who were faced with cancelling insurance for their employees or raising their premiums drastically the government developed a waiver program.
“The program requires plan sponsors to apply for the waver and to show that covered employees would be negatively impacted by a loss of coverage or significant increase in premiums if these plans were not allowed to continue. We believe continuing to offer both health plans provides a significant benefit to our employees and their family members so we chose to apply for a waiver for the plan with lower limits.
“O.K. Industries, Inc. received approval of our waiver on November 4. This approval will allow us to keep the plan in place for the 2011 plan year. We are required to reapply each year until 2014. As the law stands now, beginning in 2014 we will not be able to offer this plan to employees.”
7. For those of you who are business owners with so-called “mini-med” low-cost insurance plans who haven’t heard about the waiver application process, go to the HHS website here for more info.
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