October 20 2010
If the administration's health care "reform" is so great, why are so many big companies getting waivers?
In the clearest evidence so far that ObamaCare is harmful in practice and an election-year liability, the Obama Administration has decided not to enforce some of the law's "consumer protections." At least when the results are politically embarrassing.
That is from an excellent editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.
As you may recall, the most publicized waiver went to McDonald's, which was going to have to end "mini-med" plans for thousands of employees because such plans didn't meet the government's generosity requirements. Mini-med plans are inexpensive but give protection against large medical expenditures. The problem is that they spend more on administration costs than the government mandates. This is because, with a workforce that is often in transition, there is a lot of change. People move on and off the plan.
You say: Okay, companies can get waivers if the government's health care plan doesn't work. But this is inherently wrong:
And is it really better that HHS will impose destructive regulations and then decide on ad hoc basis who they'll hit? This is an invitation to play favorites, exact political retribution and pursue whatever arbitrary goals HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her successors happen to hold. ObamaCare amnesty shouldn't go merely to the CEOs who can get White House aide Valerie Jarrett on the horn.
Recall, too, that the original McDonald's memo the Journal exposed was actually warning about the future damage that will be caused by the forthcoming definition of the "medical loss ratio," that is, what insurers are allowed to count as spending on health-care services. HHS said in a statement that Ms. Sebelius has the power to waive those rules too when they come out and "we fully intend to exercise her discretion under the new law to address the special circumstances of mini-med plans in the medical loss ratio calculations."
In other words, HHS is pre-emptively declaring that it will grant a special dispensation to rules that haven't even been finalized.
The waivers are temporary. Unless the administration's health care reform is also rendered temporary, we will all be caught up in a system that limits individual choice and imposes rules and regulations that have more to do with ideology than our very personal medical care.