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Shhh: HHS grants more Obamacare waivers, considers new 2012-2013 scheme

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 4, 2011 10:01 AM

Back in September and October, when I first started hammering the Obamacare waiver issue, I commented:

Old promise: Everyone gets to keep their health insurance.

New promise: You can keep your health insurance…if you BEG hard enough for an Obamacare waiver.

Will only high-powered, politically connected corporations and Big Labor groups be spared? Where’s the transparency in how these decisions are being made?

To the first question, all signs have pointed to yes in the ensuing seven months.

To the second question, as usual, transparency is AWOL.

On Friday night, HHS quietly released another round of waiver information — picked up by The Hill. 128 new lucky winners will join 1,000 others in being exempted from the onerous, costly, private insurance-killing mandates that the rest of America is forced to follow:

The number of waivers the Obama administration has awarded for a provision of the year-old healthcare reform law grew by 128 in March.

With the new waivers, that means 1,168 businesses, insurers, unions and other organizations have received one-year exemptions from a healthcare reform provision requiring at least $750,000 in annual benefits.

The administration says the temporary waivers are granted to help stabilize the insurance market until a fuller package of reforms takes effect in 2014, but the growing number of waivers have exposed the White House to heavy criticism from Republican opponents of the law.

“The fact that over 1,000 waivers have been granted is a tacit admission that the healthcare law is fundamentally flawed,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) last month. Upton is one of three House committee chairmen who has used new oversight powers to investigate the annual limit waivers.

The buried news: HHS is already plotting more waivers for 2012-2013…

HHS must still bridge the gap until 2014, when the mini-med plans will supposedly be phased out because consumers will be able to shop for affordable and quality coverage on new state-run insurance exchanges. HHS said it is now examining waivers options for 2012 and 2013.

The new numbers were posted on an HHS website Friday night without an announcement from the department. The 128 waivers added in March track closely to the 126 HHS awarded in February.

Let the pre-election favor-trading for future waivers begin.

***

On a very related note: Washington Examiner reporter and Regnery author David Freddoso is out with a new book, Gangster Government, today. Check it out.

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