I am beginning to think this is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. First, they give waiver after waiver after waiver to prevent the impact of Obamacare from hitting home, often among politically favored unions. Now, because they were called on it, they ban waivers altogether. From the AP story:
Removing a potential political distraction ahead of next year’s elections, the Obama administration Friday announced an early end to a health care waiver program that has come under fire from congressional Republicans. Political considerations were “absolutely not” part of the decision, said Steve Larsen, head of a section of the Health and Human Services department that oversees President Barack Obama’s health care law. Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22. Approvals or renewals received by the deadline will be good through 2013. Starting in 2014, the main coverage provisions of the health care law will take effect, and such waivers will no longer be needed.
Good grief, that’s when the mass dumping of employees from company health plans will commence. It will be a terrible mess, unless we get this repealed after 2012.
As for the waivers: The AP put a typical positive spin, e.g. “avoiding a distraction.” I think the conservative Daily Caller has it more on the nose:
In what’s appearing to be a last-minute move to avoid scrutiny, President Barack Obama’s administration announced late Friday that it is doing away with Obamacare waivers…The Friday night news dump comes after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report earlier this week still left several unanswered questions on how the administration was handling the Obamacare waiver process. That GAO report found that more than 3 million Americans are benefiting from the more than 1,400 Obamacare waivers granted so far. But, it also found that there’s still more than 150,000 Americans who are hurting after the administration denied their organizations’ applications for waivers.
More of the opaque, in other words.
On one hand, a lot of companies will be hurt and people could lose health care if waivers stop. On the other, it might show how bad Obamacare will ultimately be. Or it could be they’ll just keep giving waivers and this is a warning to have your request in by the end of September. In any event, this law has to go.