The new count of organizations granted waivers from employer health care requirements in the ObamaCare law has swelled from 222 in October to 729 through the end of December. The Department of Health and Human Services was weeks late in posting the latest numbers (I wonder why?) and published them Wednesday, after the WTF SOTU.
Fred Lucas at CNS News did some research into the previous list of 222 waivers and noticed that three SEIU locals — yes, the same union that has been by far Barack Obama’s most visible supporter — were among the groups asking for an exemption from President Obama’s new employer health care requirements:
The three SEIU chapters include the Local 25 in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.
The waivers allow health insurance plans to limit how much they will
spend on a policy holder’s medical coverage for a given year. Under the
new health care law, however, such annual limits are phased out by the
year 2014. (Under HHS regulations, annual 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.)
The SEIU, with more than 2 million members nationally, includes
health care workers, janitors, security guards, and state and local
The three SEIU locals, covering a total of 36,064 enrollees, are
covered by the federal waivers, according to the Department of Health
and Human Services.
HHS gave 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.
So far, the Obama administration has issued waivers to 222 entities,
including businesses, unions and charitable organizations. Of that
total, 45 were labor organizations.
A total of 1,507,418 enrollees are now included in the waivers. More than one-third — 512,315 – of the enrollees affected were insured by union health plans.
SEIU Local 1199’s health plan put a $50,000 cap on medical expenses
for its New Jersey nursing home workers, according to 1199 SEIU
spokeswoman Leah Gonzalez. That’s $700,000 under the 2011 limit
stipulated by HHS regulations. (emphasis added)
Wow. Or should I say, WFT? When it comes to health coverage, McDonald’s employees are probably better off than SEIU Local 1199 workers.
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has announced that there will be Congressional investigations into the organizations that have been granted these waivers, which in his words represent “a perfect example of special interests having an ‘in’ in [the Obama] administration when they get those waivers.” I wish Congressional Republicans lots of luck in this venture.