(CNSNews.com) – The Republican congressman leading the investigation into the Obama administration’s decision to grant more than 700 waivers to the new health care law is questioning whether the law could be effective if so many waivers are needed.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) also noted the high percentage of Obama-supporting labor unions that received waivers -- which exempt them from a provision in the new health care law that bans annual limits on what insurance plans will pay for medical coverage.
“The American people repeatedly have been told that the new health care law is an effective and responsible plan for overhauling the nation’s health care system,” Rep. Stearns told CNSNews.com in a statement. “Yet, if the law is so good, why are so many waivers to the law being granted?”
Stearns is chairman of the subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the waivers granted to various companies, unions, non-profit organizations and states and municipalities.
In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (
The health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, eliminates annual caps, or limits, on how much an insurance plan will pay in benefits for an enrollee in any given year, by 2014. Under the law, the
In 2011, yearly caps can be no less than $750,000. In 2012, they can be no less than $1.25 million, and they can be no less than $2 million in 2013.
In September 2010,
The number of waivers grew from zero in September to 222 by the end of 2010 and 733 at the end of January.
“From December 2010 to January 2011 the number of waivers grew from 222 to over 700,” Stearns said in a statement to CNSNews.com. “And yes, a lot of these waivers are going to the unions. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating these waivers and we have requested from the Department of Health and Human Services the documents detailing the internal deliberations on what entities are seeking waivers and what entities have been granted or denied waivers. As a matter of fairness, I must question the value of a law that requires so many waivers.”
CNSNews.com has reported that the United Federation of Teachers, representing New York City School Teachers, is the largest recipient of waivers so far. The UFT is a member of the American Federation of Teachers, a major contributor to the Democratic Party.