JANUARY 06, 2011
In the latest of many scandals to rock the administration that promised change and a new level of transparency, a disproportionately high number of Obamacare waivers are being granted to the president’s allies in a secretive process.Essentially, the administration is exempting its financial supporters from some of the more burdensome provisions of the healthcare reform law, which President Obama touts as a “new set of rules that treats everybody honestly and treats everybody fairly.” Political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services decide which companies are off the hook and Americans are being kept in the dark.In early October Judicial Watch filed a public records request to obtain information on the shady deals, but the Obama Health Department flipped the finger and Judicial Watch was forced to sue a few weeks ago. The agency blew off its legally required deadline to produce the records without providing any sort of justification for withholding them, a common occurrence when the government wants to keep damaging information from the public.A senior White House adviser under George W. Bush sheds light on what that could be in this particular case. In a story (“ObamaCare Rewards Friends, Punishes Enemies”) published this week by a mainstream newspaper, Karl Rove reveals that most of the 222 waivers granted so far have gone to administration allies.Over a third of the more than 1.5 million employees covered by the waivers are union members even though unionized workers make up only 7% of the private workforce, Rove points out. So far 43 union organizations have been granted Obamacare waivers and the number could easily keep growing, although the true extent won’t be known until the process becomes transparent.Obama is also shamelessly helping those who supported his hostile takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. For instance, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a key player in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is exempt from many of the law’s most costly provisions. Among them are mandates and rate reviews on its lucrative health plans and hefty new taxes on insurance companies. AARP will also be exempt from a $500,000 cap on executive compensation for insurance executives.It’s the president’s way of thanking the influential and politically-connected national group for spending tens of millions of dollars on ads and lobbying on behalf of his healthcare overahaul.
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