Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Mark Hemingway describes how those with the right political connections somehow seem to have a leg up in obtaining waivers from ObamaCare: "Over Half of All Obamacare Waivers Given to Union Members". Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

The 5/17/2011 Daily Caller notes, "Nearly 20 percent of new Obamacare waivers are gourmet restaurants, nightclubs, fancy hotels in Nancy Pelosi's district". Just another coincidence, I'm sure.

As of this week, the total number of waivers granted is 1372.

The 5/15/2011 New York Times similarly reports, "Nursing Homes Seek Exemptions From Health Law". (Via Brian Schwartz.)

The 5/16/2011 Washington Examiner discusses a crucial problem with these political-based exemptions in "Beyond irony: Nursing homes need waivers from Obamacare":
When government controls an industry, the health of firms within it inevitably becomes dependent on their influence in Washington and state capitals. Competition in a regulated industry is typically focused on hiring well-connected K Street lobbying firms, targeting the "right" congressmen on key committees for hefty campaign contributions and knowing which bureaucratic levers to pull in order to ensure a favorable "business environment."

What is best for patients becomes an afterthought when bureaucratic formulas determine what care is provided and how, instead of private firms competing with each other to offer needed services at affordable prices while making enough profit to stay in business.
(Via @TOSJournal.)

Mona Charen makes a similar point in "Wielding waivers as weapons":
The danger of waiver power is that it will be used differentially, giving one private entity a competitive advantage over another. The company denied a waiver can bring suit -- but litigation is expensive and slow.

Additionally, companies may fear government retaliation: "It is no accident that it is often public-interest groups or patient groups that take on the FDA, for instance. It is simply too risky for a pharmaceutical company with multiple applications before the agency to challenge one action if it is vulnerable to a government-induced slowdown on another," writes [Professor Richard] Epstein.
Finally, Kaiser Health News reported on 5/16/2011 that 9 more states are seeking exemptions from onerous ObamaCare insurance regulations.

This list includes New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota, Georgia, Kansas and Iowa. Nevada did just recently receive a partial waiver.

(This is in addition to the exemption already granted to the state of Maine.)

As Dr. Milton Wolf once asked, "If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep protecting its best friends from it?"