As the number of days since the passage of the health care overhaul increases, so too do the number of waivers exempting employers from it. And now, according to CNS News, that number has climbed to nearly 1,400.
CNS based its article on a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to it, the exact number of waivers granted stands at 1,372. Those are for what are called "mini-med" programs. CNS explains:
The waivers are for so-called mini-med plans that offer annual coverage limits. They were outlawed by ObamaCare and are scheduled to be regulated out of existence in 2014.
However, such plans are often the only form of health insurance available to workers and without the waivers most would no longer be available.
Because these new regulations would end up denying health insurance to millions of Americans, HHS began issuing waivers so that people could keep their health coverage despite the new mandates.
The report found, however, that some of those annual limits were as high as $2 million, and that the only real basis for granting the waivers was the claim that the health care law would regulate the plans out of existence. It may come as now surprise, then, that only 65 waiver applications were denied through April 2011. 95 percent of applications were approved, the report says.
As CNS points out, the administration set up an entirely new government office to deal with the waivers:
HHS in fact established a new government office to process and evaluate the tide of waiver applications submitted by companies and unions trying to keep their health plans from being eliminated by ObamaCare.
“To implement various provisions of PPACA, including those related to annual limits, HHS created what is now called the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO).”
“CCIIO granted waivers on the basis of applications’ projected significant increases in premiums or significant decreases in access to health care benefits,” the report said. “Officials told us that they could not exclusively rely on specific numerical criteria to define a significant increase in premiums or a significant decrease in access to benefits.”