More ObamaCare waivers

More ObamaCare waivers

June 27th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

One obvious sign that Obama-Care isn't the affordable health care system that the American people were promised is that the federal government keeps having to give waivers to labor unions, businesses and other organizations because they cannot afford ObamaCare's costly mandates.

The law - approved exclusively by Democrats in 2010 - forces employers to provide coverage of at least $750,000 this year to everyone in their health insurance plans. That is a huge expense to the many employers who had offered workers limited but affordable medical insurance plans. As a result, they are faced with the prospect of either sharply raising the premiums that their employees pay or dropping health coverage altogether.

Because the Obama administration does not want to face the political fallout of acknowledging that ObamaCare will raise premiums and may reduce health coverage, it has been handing out waivers to exempt certain organizations from the $750,000 coverage rule. Republicans suspect that the president's political allies, such as labor unions, are unduly benefiting from the waivers, though the administration denies that.

But at any rate, more than 1,400 unions' and businesses' health plans have been exempted from ObamaCare's coverage rules.

And now, the administration says it will allow applications for new or extended waivers for nearly three more months. How many more unions and companies will need waivers from ObamaCare to fend off its harmful effects on their health plans? Nobody knows. So far the waivers have exempted plans covering 3.2 million people.

But what happens when the minimum health insurance coverage that companies have to offer under Obama-Care rises to $1.25 million per insured worker in 2012, then to $2 million in 2013 - and when limits on annual coverage in new health plans are banned entirely in 2014? If the $750,000 coverage rule is unaffordable to so many employers today, how many more will be harmed once they are forbidden to place any dollar limits on coverage?

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, whose district includes nearby areas of North Georgia, has said all Americans deserve a "waiver" from ObamaCare's expensive rules.

And U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., asked: "If the law is so good, why are more and more employers begging for a waiver to get relief from its burdensome mandates? Americans need waivers from the president's law because it causes health premiums to go up."

We couldn't agree more. But with Democrats still in control of the Senate, chances for congressional repeal of ObamaCare anytime soon are slim. That may leave the issue in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, because a majority of the states have sued to have ObamaCare declared unconstitutional, which it obviously is.

If it is not either repealed by Congress or struck down by the court, we can be assured that it will have long-term, devastating economic consequences for our nation.