Free Markets, Free People

If ObamaCare is so good, why all the exemptions?

The short answer, of course, is it is a monstrous bill law those effected by it are just beginning to understand. And maybe it’s just me but when you begin to grant waivers to the law, a) you’re playing special interest politics (it applies to the little people but not the politically well connected) and b) the law is obviously flawed.

The total of exemptions granted by the Obama administration has now swelled to 222  (list here).

One of the more recognizable business names included on the newly-expanded list of waivers issued by the feds is that of Waffle House, which received a waiver on November 23 for health coverage that covers 3,947 enrollees.

Another familiar name was that of Universal Orlando, which runs a variety of very popular resorts in the Orlando, Florida area. Universal was given a waiver for plans that cover 668 workers. These waivers deal with limited health benefit plans, sometimes referred to as "mini-med" policies, which companies as large as McDonald’s use for some its employees. The plan have limits on how much can be paid out in coverage, limits which would be phased out under the new health reform law.

The feds though have granted waivers from that law, amid concern that certain groups would drop their health insurance programs entirely. Those waivers are good for one year, and can be considered for renewal.

That final line is important because, of course, it gives the government leverage to push for changes in coverage within the companies it has to this point exempted. If not, it simply lets the exemption expire. But that doesn’t change the fact that the only the politically connected to this point have been exempted. Instead of admitting the problem with the law and issuing a blanket exemption to all businesses that are effected like the favored few, the administration prefers to do “favors” for those that apply.

Among those so favored to this point are – surprise – a number of unions:

Several weeks ago, critics singled out a number of unions which had received government approval for exemptions from certain provisions of the law dealing with annual medical spending limit requirements.

And there are more unions who have received waivers in this latest batch, like the Bricklayers Local 1 of MD, VA and DC, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, the Indiana Teamsters Health Benefits Fund, Service Employees International Union Local 1 Cleveland Welfare Fund, and more are listed.

This, of course, is a result of poorly written legislation that wasn’t debated, vetted or carefully considered.  It is a mish-mash of liberal wishes and desires bundled in a huge and unread document and shoved through the legislative process in a most underhanded way.  The fallout has been gradual but building as more and more companies get into the nitty-gritty of what this will mean to them.  And the waiver apps are flying.  Since mid-November, the waivers granted has doubled from 111 to 222.   And there’s no reason to believe that’s going to slow down as the implementation dates near.

It is also another in a long line of reasons the business climate in this country remains unsettled.  The fact that a company gets a waiver doesn’t mean that within a year the administration will decide it must comply.  I’m sure these businesses have already calculated the cost to them of such a demand.  Would you do any major hiring or expansion with that hanging over your head?

Yeah, neither would I.



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11 Responses to If ObamaCare is so good, why all the exemptions?

  • I wonder is so many waivers in a “universal” bill would be grounds enough, in and of itself to declare it unconstitutional since it is mandatory?  Based upon the equal protection parts of the constitution.

  • I wonder if a company that applies for and doesn’t get a waiver can sue the govt under equal protection?  Or more to the point, can employees of a company that didn’t get an applied for waiver and lost coverage as a result sue?

    I’d sure like to find out. 

  • So…. Where do I sign up for MY exemption?

    • See your (democrat) member of Congress or else deliver a fat pile of cash (plain black attache case, non-sequentially numbered bills, please) to David Axelrod.

  • Exemptions were implimented to get co-operation from traditional allies that might others oppose the measure.

    Their exemptions won’t last.  They’ll be pealed away one by one.

    • No, this is just an effort post-passage to make the impact softer, so they can avoid the politcal ramifications resulting from people losing coverage.

      One of the first to get an exemption was McDonald’s, a hated target of the left. But Obama’s choice was to grant McDonald’s an exemption, or watch while McDonald’s ended its health plan for thousands of employees–right before the 2010 midterms.

      • Bingo. Keeping this stuff out of the headlines allows low information voters to think the policy is working with no bad effects. It will be horrible because only those large enough and connected enough will be able to get the waivers.

        • It’s another step towards banana republic status. It would be better to let all companies suffer the same. Now we have less reason to invest in a small start up, that may not recieve the exemption and therefore has another barrier to entry.

          The left is OK with this sorta thing, since they dig the benevelent control of government (as long as their guy is in charge), but anyone who understands markets has to see the coming chill.