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Healthcare waivers = 'arbitrary government'

Healthcare waivers = 'arbitrary government'
Chris Woodward - OneNewsNow - 10/8/2010 4:35:00 AMBookmark and Share

ObamaCare 3Nearly three dozen companies -- McDonald's among them -- will be allowed healthcare waivers in 2011 to keep medical coverage for their employees. (Related article: Judge rejects challenge to key provisions of ObamaCare)

The Obama administration has agreed to allow the waivers for McDonald's, Jack in the Box, and 28 other companies and insurers to help them maintain coverage they claim will be too expensive under the new healthcare law. McDonald's asked to excuse 115,000 workers; Jack in the Box, 1,130. The biggest waiver granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was for the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund -- 351,000 people.

Bloomberg Business News quotes the CEO of a health policy consulting company who notes the timing of the agreement. "The big political issue here is the president promised no one would lose the coverage they've got," said Robert Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates. "Here we are a month before the election, and these companies represent one million people who would [otherwise] lose the coverage they've got."

Edmund Haislmaier (Heritage Foundation)Ed Haislmaier, senior fellow of health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, says the government's announcement shows that the new healthcare law has flaws. "When they were rushing this through, they either didn't know what they were doing -- or they didn't take the time to figure it out," he suggests.

Haislmaier adds the waivers are only intended for one year, and argues the administration is merely trying to "paper over the defects of the legislation" to get it off the headlines. As a result, the Heritage fellow says the Obama administration is creating more problems for itself.

"They're in effect...creating really arbitrary government where you have to go ask permission to do something -- and you may or may not get it," he says, noting that that results in a lack of consistency from one time to another. "So if you get permission for one year, you may not get it for the next year," he adds.

As for whether Republicans can win control of Congress in November and repeal Obamacare, Haislmaier believes it is possible. But he suggests that a GOP majority may not be necessary to accomplish that. He believes that new Democrats in Congress could also join Republicans in the effort if the healthcare law is unpopular with their constituents.

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