Obamacare waivers skyrocket to 729 + 4 states; 4 new SEIU waiver winners. [Updated]

The real snow job in D.C.: Obamacare waivers skyrocket to 729 + 4 states; 4 new SEIU waiver winners

Michelle Malkin
1/26/2011

The nation’s capital is freaking out over a winter snowstorm.

But everyone else should be up in arms over the real snow job in Washington this week.

While the Democrats continued to extol Obamacare and the president defended the behemoth law during the Date of the Union, HHS was quietly presiding over a massive Obamacare Waiver-mania explosion.

When last we examined the growing list, privileged escapees topped 222.

Now: The list now at 729 — plus 4 states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee).

Among the many new union refugees are 4 new SEIU locals :

-SEIU Health and Welfare fund, 2000 with 161 enrollees

-Service Employees 32BJ North Health Benefit Fund* representing 7,020 enrollees

-SEIU Local 300, Civil Service Forum Employees Welfare Fund representing 2,000 enrollees

-SEIU Health & Welfare Fund representing 1,620

This is in addition to the three other previous SEIU waiver winners: Local 25 SEIU in Chicago with 31,000 enrollees; Local 1199 SEIU Greater New York Benefit Fund with 4,544 enrollees; and SEIU Local 1 Cleveland Welfare Fund with 520 enrollees.

Which brings the total number of Obamacare-promoting SEIU Obamacare escapees to an estimated 45,000 workers represented by seven SEIU locals.

HHS puts the total number of union waiver recipients at 182:

Collectively-Bargained Employer-Based Plan Applicants: Most of the other health plans receiving waivers are multi-employer health funds created by a collective bargaining agreement between a union and two or more employers, pursuant to the Taft-Hartley Act. These “union plans” are employment based group health plans and operate for the sole benefit of workers. They tend to be larger than other typical group health plans because they cover multiple employers. There are also single-employer union plans that have received a waiver. In total, 182 collectively-bargained plans have received waivers.

The rest:

Of all the waivers granted to date:

* Employment-Based Coverage: The vast majority – 712 plans representing 97 percent of all waivers – were granted to health plans that are employment-related.

o Self-Insured Employer Plans Applicants: Employer-based health plans received most of the waivers – 359.

o Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs): HRAs are employer-funded group health plans where employees are reimbursed tax-free for qualified medical expenses up to a maximum dollar amount for a coverage period. In total, HHS has approved 171 applications for waivers for HRAs.

* Health Insurers: Sixteen waivers were granted to health insurers, which can apply for a waiver for multiple mini-med products sold to employers or individuals.

* State Governments: Four waivers have gone to State governments. States may apply for a waiver of the restricted annual limits on behalf of issuers of state-mandated policies if state law required the policies to be offered by the issuers prior to September 23, 2010.

A snort-worthy new escapee: Obamacare sympathizers at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose board of trustees includes Obama health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle...

Read the rest of the article–which includes the long, long, long list of waiver recipients and links to several related articles–at MichelleMalkin.com

Also at the site, Beltway Prom Night hangover: AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce now dating

Update: More from Michelle Malkin, 28 January 2011–Waivers for Favors: Big Labor’s Obamacare escape hatch

My syndicated column today takes another thwack at Obamacare waiver-mania, with more analysis of the 182 union beneficiaries who’ve obtained safe harbor from the costly mandate pushed by their Big Labor bosses.

I propose a new White House series: “Voices of Health Reform Waivers,” where taxpayers can meet all the politically-connected unions benefiting from exclusive get-out-of-Obamacare passes — after squandering millions of their workers’ dues to lobby for the
job-killing, private insurance-sabotaging law from which they are now exempt.

At the end of last year, the Department of Health and Human Services had granted some 222 temporary waivers to businesses small and large, insurers, labor, and other organizations that offer affordable health insurance or prescription drug coverage with limited benefits. On Wednesday, the agency quietly updated its online list, which now reveals a whopping total of 729 Obamacare escapees – in addition to four states Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee – who collectively cover 2.1 million enrollees.

At least one eyebrow-raising waiver recipient – the left-leaning, nationalized health care-promoting Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – has direct ties to the White House. Obama health care czar Nancy DeParle sits on the foundation’s board of trustees.

Most noteworthy: One-fourth of all the waivers (182) have gone to Big Labor groups across the country so far….

Related: Unions make up 40 percent of employees exempted from Obamacare

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