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‘Waivers’ Given To McDonald’s, 29 Others

Discreetly tucked away in the ‘Business Day’ section of an outraged New York Times:

Waivers Address Talk of Dropping Health Coverage

October 6, 2010

As Obama administration officials put into place the first major wave of changes under the health care legislation, they have tried to defuse stiffening resistance — from companies like McDonald’s and some insurers — by granting dozens of waivers to maintain even minimal coverage far below the new law’s standards.

The waivers have been issued in the last several weeks as part of a broader strategic effort to stave off threats by some health insurers to abandon markets, drop out of the business altogether or refuse to sell certain policies.

Among those that administration officials hoped to mollify with waivers were some big insurers, some smaller employers and McDonald’s, which went so far as to warn that the regulations could force it to strip workers of existing coverage….

Which, of course, we were told at the time by both the White House and McDonald’s was a lie.

To date, the administration has given about 30 insurers, employers and union plans, responsible for covering about one million people, one-year waivers on the new rules that phase out annual limits on coverage for limited-benefit plans, also known as “mini-meds.”

We suspect that "union plans" got caught in this, is one reason why these dispensations have been so graciously given. But do notice that these are just "one year waivers."

How much the administration can, or should, compromise in ways that could dilute the effect of the new law in the next few years is a subject of much debate, depending on the politics from state to state or the economic dynamics in a particular market.

Policy experts say much of the authority to enforce the new law rests with the states, and they say the federal government may have little ultimate control over whether insurers will keep offering coverage in specific markets

Which, of course, ticks off the New York Times to no end.  

By the way, the original headline for this article was: ‘U.S. Waivers After Threats of Lost Health Coverage.’ Which just shows how The Times hates to see the whip hand loosen — even this much.

Aetna and Cigna have also received waivers to continue selling limited-benefit policies, according to the list released by the Department of Health and Human Services, as have small employers like Sanderson Plumbing Products and Guy C. Lee Manufacturing. HealthMarkets, which offers policies through MEGA Life and Health and other insurers, says it also plans to apply for a waiver for some of its plans…

Some states, like Iowa and Maine, have already said they might seek additional authority from federal officials to exempt some insurers, at least for a time, because of the potential disruption if carriers leave the market over the new standards on medical spending.

“We have some very small carriers in the state,” said Susan E. Voss, the Iowa insurance commissioner, who said she favored letting state regulators decide whether some carriers should be given more leeway. The state has already lost some carriers, including the Principal Financial Group, which announced its decision last week

The struggle to stop insurers from dropping child-only coverage illustrates the limited power that the administration, and some states, may have to pressure companies to participate. While federal officials have tried to address the concerns by insurers that the rules allow parents to wait until their children are sick to sign up, some insurers have remained reluctant to commit to the market.

While states like California can force their hands by passing legislation requiring any insurer who plans to sell policies in the new exchanges to also sell child-only policies, other states have little recourse other than to try to persuade insurers to stay

Yes, isn’t it a pity that the federal government and the states cannot simply command insurance companies to commit suicide.

Of course, this situation cannot be allowed to stand. Legislation – or better yet, an Executive Order – will "address" this problem right very soon.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, October 7th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “‘Waivers’ Given To McDonald’s, 29 Others”

  1. proreason says:

    Aaah. The satisfactions of fascism. How sweet it must be to have the power of life and death over businesses. The all knowing and benevolent Obamy with a simple wave of his hand overrules Congress, the law and the people.

    Just imagine what he could accomplish if he worked more than a 2 hour day.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    But this was suppose to simplify things and make having medical insurance affordable and convenient for the masses.
    DingleBarry is a “KNOW” nothing and we will suffer for it.
    (and so will the jackass party)

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