Hard-to-Find List below of 111 companies granted waivers by HHS (so far).
Texas Insider Report: Washington, D.C. – The battle against ObamaCare is taking on four fronts: political, legislative, legal & regulatory. Legislators returned to Capitol Hill last week to start making plans for the next Congress, and the 80-plus freshmen have the fight against ObamaCare at the top of their lists.
Likewise, most of the 29 Republican governors meeting last week in San Diego are making plans to resist what many see as a federal take-over of their health sectors. With nearly 700 new Republican state legislators elected Nov. 2, these governors will have the wind at their backs.
For example, The New York Times reports Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker said he wants the state to freeze all efforts to put the law into effect until he takes office in January. He plans to join the Florida lawsuit against the health overhaul law and says he will do as little as possible to comply, but just enough to keep federal officials out.
As many as seven or eight more states could join the 20 in the suit.
Assuming the lawsuit will take time, the next step will be “looking at not only slowing down [the federal law but] offering a viable alternative to what the current administration has been aggressively doing,” he says.
(Prediction: If states have not made sufficient “progress” in getting exchanges set up by January of 2013, the feds will move in.)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has prohibited state officials from requesting any federal funds or taking any actions to implement the law without clearing it with him first.
Expect states to demand more authority to escape federal mandates and instead receive block grants to administer Medicaid and other programs, as Rhode Island already is successfully doing.
A four-prong strategy:
Since neither President Obama, nor soon-to-be Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, seem to get the message from the electorate about how much they despise the law and how it was passed, Congress and governors will be spending the next two years helping them to understand and painting a different vision of market-based, consumer-friendly reform.
The battle against ObamaCare is taking on four fronts: political, legislative, legal, and regulatory.
- The political front will involve continuing educational efforts to help the American people understand more about the law and its impact and to offer a positive, step-by-step agenda for reform. Rep. Tom Price, newly elected as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, will take the lead. There will be ample opportunities in the next two years to get the word out through hearings, legislative initiatives, etc.
- Legislative actions will begin with a full repeal vote on the House floor in January and then continue with targeted votes to defund, delay, dismantle, and direct oversight and investigation and, each time, to offer positive solutions.
- Legal challenges will likely grow. A Wall Street Journal editorial on Thursday encouraged newly elected governors and attorneys general to join the Florida suit, saying, “The voters showed their loathing for the law on November 2, and a large, united legal front of states would increase the chances that the courts find it unconstitutional.”
- Regulatory roadblocks: While the wheels of the bureaucracy are rapidly churning out regulations to implement the health overhaul law, legislators have a responsibility to protect the American people and taxpayers to make sure that these regulations and the implementation processes are doing no harm. Expect Congress to take a number of actions through oversight, hearings, and control of federal purse strings. We’re happy to share ideas with those interested.
And kudos, once again, to our fearless leader of visionary public policy, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, soon to be the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
He and former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin this week offered a plan to modernize Medicare and Medicaid, giving people more choices and getting us off the trajectory to fiscal calamity.
111 Waivers galore (so far) allow escape from early insurance mandates:
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has joined forces with Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to introduce a bill that would give states early waivers from the health law. It’s important because one of the major things it purports to do is allow them to escape the dreaded individual mandate.
But the Politico Pulse quotes a Republican Senate aide as saying “most Rs see these waivers as a joke … The waivers don’t address the structural flaws with PPACA … But the concept of a real waiver (where states could truly innovate to reduce spending and lower health care costs) might have some legs.”
Speaking of waivers, the 111 waivers granted (so far) by HHS to companies to allow them to escape some of the early insurance mandates is causing quite a commotion.
Here’s a link to the very-hard-to-find list on the government’s website.
The Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, and all of the other special deals to buy senators’ votes that made people so mad when the law was passed? Now bureaucrats are picking political favorites!
Dreaded individual mandate:
The federal mandate that everyone must purchase health insurance or face penalties is the Achilles’ Heel of the overhaul law. Fewer than one in five Americans support it, yet everyone will be subject to it.
And Massachusetts is doing us a favor by telling us where this is headed:
The Commonwealth’s version of a health exchange “has turned into a legal pit bull by aggressively going after a growing number of Bay Staters who say they can’t afford mandated insurance — or the penalties imposed for not having it,” according to the Boston Herald.
“The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority is cracking down on more than 3,000 residents who are fighting state fines, and has even hired a private law firm to force the health insurance scofflaws to pay penalties of up to $2,000 a year,” it reports.
Ms. Turner is president of the Galen Institute.