Free Markets, Free People

ObamaCare update–waivers and falsehoods

Yesterday, after the SOTU had been delivered and all attention was on discussing it, the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO), part of the US Health and Human Services Department, quietly announced that it had granted 511 new waivers to Obamacare (for a total of 733 as of this post) since its last report in November.  Hot Air had been monitoring the site and found it rather interesting that a site that had been efficiently updated through November suddenly wasn’t updated until after SOTU.  A bit like the CBO’s announced revision of this year’s deficit.

Anyway, the list contains businesses, local unions and other entities.  Additionally, four states have applied for waivers (MA, NJ, OH and TN).

The reason for all these waivers (which, btw, only delay their integration into ObamaCare, it doesn’t exempt them)?

This ever-expanding list of waivers is the direct result of ObamaCare raising the annual benefit caps on certain health plans. Obviously, a plan with higher annual limits is potentially more costly than one without them. The money to cover the difference in premiums has to come from somewhere. Without the waivers, it will come from the employer who are forced by law to upgrade to the more expensive plan.

2.2 million effected with the waivers granted to this point.  Part of that “less costly” promise Obama made when he was peddling this monstrosity.

Speaking of falsehoods, Jen Rubin at the Washington Post  reports on an interesting exchange between Congressional reps and Medicare’s chief actuary (Robert Foster).  In this particular exchange they discuss the “double-counting” that was used to justify ObamaCare (and which the Democrats and their pet economists like to claim is nonsense:

REP. JOHN CAMPBELL(R- Calif.): "Is it legitimate to say… that you can add a dozen years to the solvency of Medicare or that you can reduce the deficit, but it is not correct to say both simultaneously?"

FOSTER: "Both will happen as a result of the same one set of savings, under Medicare. But it takes two sets of money to make it happen. It happens directly for the budget deficit, from the Medicare savings, and then when we need the money to extend the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, we have a promissory note – it’s an IOU, not a worthless IOU, but it is an IOU – and Treasury has to pay that money back. But they have to get it from somewhere. That’s the missing link."

These are the sorts of budgetary tricks that Congress is famous for using (and it isn’t just the Democrats, although it was certainly the Democrats in this case)and one of the reasons we see government in the horrific financial shape it is in.

So, where is the money – promised in the IOUs for the money designated for Medicare but spent elsewhere – going to come from? Of course the Democrat’s answer is from higher taxes. But don’t worry – the result will be "lower health care costs" or so says the plan. Amazing.

Then Foster was asked about this:

Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare’s independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.

The landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down, and it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates. . . .

Foster was asked by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for a simple true or false response on two of the main assertions made by supporters of the law: that it will bring down unsustainable medical costs and will let people keep their current health insurance if they like it.

On the costs issue, "I would say false, more so than true," Foster responded.

Finally, this exchange:

McCLINTOCK: "The other promise… was the promise that if you like your plan, you can keep it. True or false?"

FOSTER: "Not true in all cases."

Really?  Other than true believers, who else thought “oh heck yeah, we can add more people to the rolls, require insurance companies to take everyone regardless of their health and remove all payment caps and have a cheaper product too boot?  The same people who swallowed “if you like your plan you can keep it”, I guess.

For those folks: welcome to reality.  If you think the new revised budget deficit of 1.5 trillion this year is alarming, wait till ObamaCare kicks in fully.  Oh, and repeat after me “this is not the government taking over health care”.



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14 Responses to ObamaCare update–waivers and falsehoods

  • Well, the whole thing has to go. It must be repealed. It was created as a pile of crap and it will blind every price signal in the medical industry until the entire medical infrastructure falls into ruin. It will be worth your life to go into a hospital because 95% of the energy will go to contemplating the bureaucratic requirements. The impact of just passing it, before it has even really taken effect, is so destructive that it can’t be assessed. It has to go. Every last comma and period of it. Accept no substitutes for total and complete repeal.

  • At this rate, there will be little to repeal.  Everyone will have been part of the Tidal Waiver

    • Actually that is my proposed solution, Republicans should just attach a waiver for every group  they can think of to every bill that comes out of committee.  They get Democrats to go along with them or else they won’t vote for a waiver for their own preferred groups. Before long it is a dead letter.

      • Forgive my iggorance, but don’t the waivers come from the bureaucrats in, like, HHS?  How can the legislators manage to do as you suggest?  (Gotta say…I like the general idea.  Anything to monkey-wrench this tyranny!)

        • Yes, it is HHS that grants the waiver. It is more power to the bureaurats, and a big step on our way to banana republic status.

  • FOSTER: “Not true in all cases.”

    Do you mean that Nancy Pelosi was blowing smoke of the asses of those folks that she told would be able to do the “art” full time and still get medical care ?

    • No, Neo.
      Reid, Pelosi, Obama, et al did not lie to artists.  They lied to every-freaking-body.
      A lot of people are feeling like they’ve been punked.  (Um, Erp…?)

      • Yet another one of the WTF (Winning The Future) moments.

      • You know things have gone sour when the response is so close to the truth.  Typically a politician or government official has no problem lying about a statement or issue, knowing they can obfuscate later on.  When Foster is responding with “yeah, that’s kinda true” to questions regarding promises made vis-a-vis ObamaCare, it’s because he knows there’s no way to deflect it later with BS.  That might be the clearest sign that the administration is well aware of just how massive a boondoggle this will be if it isn’t repealed.  That’s pretty scary.

  • McQ[W]ho else thought “oh heck yeah, we can add more people to the rolls, require insurance companies to take everyone regardless of their health and remove all payment caps and have a cheaper product too boot?  The same people who swallowed “if you like your plan you can keep it”, I guess.
    For those folks: welcome to reality. 

    Sorry, they haven’t checked in yet; they haven’t even made reservations.  They STILL persist in believing everything that The Dear Golfer told them.  And, to the extent that his promises won’t be kept, it’s because he CAN’T… because of all those nasty teabaggers who got elected in November.

    Anyway, I’m sure that the true believers will explain it all away as expediency: he HAD to make some promises that, well, weren’t exactly solemn pledges so he could AT LAST get health care coverage for ALL Americans, something our country has needed since… well… forever.  I mean, do you WANT people to have to steal their dead sister’s dentures so they can eat?  Don’t you want sick children of poor people who’ve been laid off by heartless corporations to be able to go to the hospital?

    / sarc

    They gave him a pass on Gitmo, earmarks, transparency, and all the other lies he told.  Why should this be any different?

    Martin McPhillips Well, the whole thing has to go.

    When I first read this, I thought you were talking about the federal government.  I said to myself, “This guy has his head screwed on straight.  What a great idea!” Then I realized you were talking about only ObamaCare.  Still a good idea, mind you…


  • The irony is that the exemptions are purely temporary.  They are to blunt opposition especially internal opposition.  But once they get their grand system in place, they’ll yank those exemptions one be one.