As of the end of November, the White House granted 222 waivers for small businesses to opt out of certain Obamacare statutes. The list of waivers is located on the HHS website. However, if you click on the previous link you’ll probably notice very quickly that the total number of approved waivers is much higher than 222. It’s actually something like 729…
Now, the number of approved waivers is updated on the 3rd of every month . So, it might seem reasonable that the number of small businesses opting out of Obamacare’s annual limit requirements has increased substantially since November. The only problem is that the website was not updated with newly approved waivers at all in December, and it was only just today has that number changed from 222 to 729. John Sexton from Hotair checked up on the matter:
I was curious what caused the delay so I made some calls. Last Tuesday I spoke by phone with a media relations employees of HHS. She was not allowed to speak on the record, but after checking with folks at OCIIO who handle the ObamaCare waivers, she was able to inform me in a “not for attribution” way that the latest batch of waivers had in fact been processed. There was no specific hold-up that she could identify, they were simply running behind in getting the information on the website.
Well today, the day after the President’s State of the Union, the new waivers are up. You may recall that there were 222 such waivers approved in November. That number has now jumped to 729 through the end of December. The total number of people covered by the waivers has gone from 1.5M to just under 2.2M. The list includes the usual assortment of union locals and businesses.
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that OCIIO was asked to hold this development until after the SOTU. Indeed the latest waiver approved in the list is from December 30th. There is an addendum at the bottom of the page noting that four states–Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee–have applied for waivers covering another 93,000 people. The addendum is dated 1/21/11, but I can assure you it was not there on 1/21 or even Monday.
The timeliness of the delay is indeed interesting given the ramifications such a disclosure might have on the political atmosphere of the state of the union. It might be difficult to justify standing up for a health care law that is so obviously bad for business. How else might one explain the mass exodus of job creators from the burdens of Obamacare? That was hardly a reality Obama wanted to face….so he hid it.
This displays some questionable standards of moral integrity, but that aside, the much more pressing issue is the problem with Obamacare’s annual limits requirements. Plain and simple, it’s unaffordable. So, when businesses are faced with the choice to keep plans with higher limits– causing unnecessary financial hardships– or opt out of the program, it’s a simple business decision, and it’s the most transparent measure yet of the way Obamacare hangs small businesses out to dry. The numbers speak for themselves, and $2.2 million people covered by Obamacare waivers is pretty telling…
But, as Sexton notes, the waivers program is going to come to an end….and then where will business turn?