Three local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chapters have received temporary Obamacare wavers, which will allow them to cap the amount of health insurance money they spend on an employee in a given year below the federal spending limit, CNS News reports. One of the chapters is located in President Obama's hometown of Chicago.
CNS says the waivers will specifically allow the unions to bypass the gradually increasing spending caps the government instituted on its way to abolishing caps altogether in 2014. Current regulations say spending limits can be no less than $750,000 for 2011, no less than $1.25 million in 2012, and no less than $2 million in 2013.
According to research compiled by CNS, the Department of Health and Human Services granted a waiver to Local 25 SEIU in Chicago with 31,000 enrollees on Oct. 1, 2010; to Local 1199 SEIU Greater New York Benefit Fund with 4,544 enrollees on Oct. 10, 2010; and to the SEIU Local 1 Cleveland Welfare Fund with 520 enrollees on Nov. 15, 2010.
As an example, SEIU Local 1199’s health plan put a $50,000 cap on medical expenses for its New Jersey nursing home workers, which is $700,000 under the 2011 limit. When contacted by CNS, the local union's spokeswoman Leah Gonzalez said fewer than 1 percent of members have ever reached that cap, and that any members who did received more help.
222 groups have received Obamacare waivers thus far, with 45 of them being labor organizations. Abolishing annual and lifetime spending limits in relation to health insurance spending was a central tenant of the new health care law when the President first presented it to America.
CNS reports the SEIU donated $27.8 million to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.