According to this article from The Washington Times, certain Members of Congress are beginning the process of investigating AARP’s activities related to passage of ObamaCare. The question remains whether the organization ignored the interest of its members in order to gain political favors and political advantage for its for-profit activities. Read more on this subject here.
Tag Archives: Political Favors
Lost in the debate over ObamaCare and the President’s prescription mandate is the fact that it will actually lead to higher prices for birth control and that the biggest beneficiaries will be the pharmaceutical companies. The losers, of course, will the taxpayers. Avik Roy writes at The Atlantic that: “another big problem with the rule is that it will enrich drug companies at the expense of people who want access to basic contraception.”
“Under the current system, drug companies have an incentive to compete on price. If you have health insurance that covers birth control today, your insurer is likely to charge you a higher co-pay for expensive, “branded” versions of birth control over cheaper, generic ones. If you don’t have health insurance, and you’re buying the Pill directly from the pharmacy at Wal-Mart, you have even more incentive to shop on price.”“Under the new mandate, this price incentive disappears. Insurers will be required to pay for any and all oral contraceptives, without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or a deductible. This “first dollar coverage” of oral contraception kills the incentive to shop based on price.”
According to media reports, the Georgia House of Representatives has passed the healthcare compact. The bill passed 108-63. Also in Georgia, the House has sent another bill – that would have established the ObamaCare exchanges in Georgia – back to the Rules Committee. This means that the bill to set up the exchange in Georgia is postponed for the remainder of the year.
AHEC has explained that the exchanges are the gateway to full implementation of ObamaCare: here, here and here. The exchanges will sell heavily regulated insurance policies and will be the only place where people can use the ObamaCare subsidies to purchase insurance. By its’ action, the Georgia House is making the right decision and is saying “we will” in response to the question “who decides” who should regulate healthcare – the feds or the states.
Previous posts on this blog, Prescription for Disaster, have detailed how HHS Secretary Sebelius has used waivers to give special treatment to several of the Obama Administration’s favored groups, like labor unions. A new analysis by Philip Hamburger, a law professor at Columbia Law School, calls into question whether Sebelius even has the legal authority to issue these waivers.
Section 2711(a) of ObamaCare prohibits insurers from imposing lifetime coverage limits and “unreasonable annual limits” on insurance policies. HHS issued regulations on June 28, 2010 that established the annual coverage limits. The statute does not give the Secretary any authority to waiver these coverage limits. So how is it that the Secretary has issued 1,040 waivers affecting 2.6 million? In an Insurance Standards Bulletin, HHS’s Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight said. “the regulations also provided that these restricted annual limits may be waived by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).”
What does that mean? It means that, according to HHS, Secretary Sebelius gave herself waiver authority. She wrote regulations that give her more authority than the statute gives her. Congress did not provide Sebelius waiver authority. The word waiver appear 97 times in the law – but not in relation to annual coverage limits. If Congress had intended her to be able to waive annual limits, Congress could have given her the authority to waive the limits.
This power grab on the part of the Secretary should be deeply disturbing to every American. If ObamaCare stands for the principle that unelected bureaucrats can give themselves powers by regulatory fiat, and without regards to Congressional delegation, then ObamaCare has caused us to lose far more than previously thought – it means we have also lost America’s republican form of government.
In response to a flood of waivers for unions, businesses, and employers to certain ObamaCare regulations, Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan introduced a bill on Wednesday that would entitle Americans to waiver from the individual mandate if the law will significantly increase their premiums or otherwise deprive them of access to health insurance.
The Obama Administration has recently announced a new round of waivers granting a “one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement” included in ObamaCare. This latest waiver brings to 1,040 the total number of waivers affecting more than 2.6 million people who would otherwise have likely lost their insurance in 2011 due to dramatically higher prices brought about as a result of ObamaCare. These waivers affect so-called “mini-med plans.”
HHS continues to tout the waivers as if HHS, and ObamaCare, was helping to ensure that people can keep their insurance. The fact is that there would be no need to “save” people’s insurance if ObamaCare did not exist in the first place. The House Ways & Means Committee released a statement that the growing numbers of waivers was, “another admission that the Democrats’ health care law is unworkable,” and asked the following question, “if the Obama Administration itself admits that the best way to help Americans keep what they have is to give them a waiver from the Democrats’ health care law, isn’t that a pretty good indication that the law is not working and should be repealed?”
AHEC has created a summary of the waivers issued through the first week of March 2011.
In a case of ultimate hypocrisy, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is fighting against the McConnell amendment to the FAA bill that would repeal ObamaCare. They are lobbying hard to defeat the amendment. But as The Hill has noted – a number of the SEIU’s locals have applied for and received waivers from the more onerous, and expensive provisions of ObamaCare. It seems the SEIU only cares about the cost of its own insurance premiums, not anyone else’s.