Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Waiving the Flag

Suderman on the waivers being granted to certain companies from Obamacare provisions:

The Obama administration has implicitly admitted that some sections are flawed and unworkable by issuing at least 222 waivers allowing certain companies and unions to get out of some of the law’s requirements on a temporary basis. You can portray the waivers as a way for the administration to offer some regulatory flexibility, but they carry a clear subtext: The law, as written, expects too much. The requirements, at least for now, are too great.

At the same time, the waivers also potentially give the administration some flexibility of their own—flexibility to play favorites, that is. That’s because the process involved in obtaining a waiver is as clear as mud. As Hoover Institution research fellow (and Reason contributor) David R. Henderson explained in an NCPA brief last October, “the petitioning process is ill-defined, and there is no legal standard at all for granting the waivers themselves. Asking for such waivers is a crapshoot, dependent on the whims of bureaucrats.”

Many of these waivers have been granted to unions or very large corporations like McDonald’s that play politics well.  In short, whether Obamacare bankrupts your company is entirely dependent on the whim of the Administration.  They have made this process totally opaque—even companies applying for waiver have no idea what the criteria are.

I’ve blogged about this before and the larger point remains.  If it weren’t waivers, it would be something.  No matter how you slice it, influence would be being peddled.  PJ O’Rourke famously said that when you legislate buying and selling, the first things to be bought are legislators.  When you have the government determining what health insurance policies are or not acceptable, you inherently politicize the process.

The Republicans had their symbolic repeal of Obamacare this week.  Fuck that.  They need to be doing real things to blunt the impact of Obamacare.  The Democrats are amenable to repealing the 1099 provision.  This should be done immediately.  The Democrats haven’t said anything about the waivers, however.  And they need to be put into the position of defending an opaque, arbitrary and thoroughly politicized process that is affecting our economy on the levels of billions of dollars.

Update: You simply have to read Mankiw’s destruction of the notion that healthcare reform “saves” us money.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 01/21/11 at 02:34 PM in Health Care  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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