It did not take long for issues and concerns that conservatives and libertarians expressed about the Health Care act to come to light. Late last year news that several large companies had requested that the Obama Administration grant waivers to allow them to opt out of the provisions of Obamacare. This was a cause of concern, but I didn’t spend much time digging into the details. Today, it was announced, rather quietly, that more companies and organizations were granted waivers. The total now exceeds 700 companies and 2.2 million employees.
I began to question the process of granting waivers and wondered if this process was part of the bill. Why are these companies asking for waivers? Who are they? What is the criteria for granting these waivers? What I learned is that the law of unanticipated consequences (okay I’m being optimistic that this wasn’t intentional) quickly came into play.
The original company that received a lot of press over this issue was McDonald’s. They indicated that they would have cut out their “mini-med” program for about 30,000 of their low-paid workers because of the burdensome administrative requirements of the new program. HHS stepped in and offered a one-year pass (waiver) on complying to the law’s regulations. I suppose that it would have been an embarrassment to the Obama administration if McDonald’s did indeed drop their coverage for 30,000 workers, since this is quite the opposite of what was promised with the passage of this law. Of course, once the proverbial seal was broken, companies lined up to get their waivers.
A quick survey of a list of those granted waivers reveals that many of laws biggest proponents and the President’s biggest financial supporters, primarily labor unions, have been granted waivers. It also is clear that the health care law does not have provisions for these waivers, so it is up to politically appointed bureaucrats to grant these waivers. And this is the realization of many of our worst fears. Our government passes a law to gain more control over our health care system. The law has burdensome requirements for employers and insurance companies that are costly to implement. A complex bureaucracy is created to administer this new law. The bureaucracy is empowered to the extent that they can decide whom the law applies to and whom it does not. Coincidentally, those who supported the law are granted waivers, seemingly for arbitrary reasons.
This is the case against any government involvement in health care. We cannot grant our government this type of power, it will invariably be abused. The government cannot be allowed to pick winners and losers and apply laws based on crony-ism or other arbitrary means. It is too easy to abuse this power to punish opponents or reward benefactors. This is why I am adamantly opposed to any government involvement in matters as important as healthcare. The government needs to create a climate that allows the free market to solve the issues with our current system. Reasonable regulations to prevent abuse and provide coverage for the most needy are also acceptable to help solve the issues with out current system. But it is obvious that we cannot and should not entrust our government with this much power.
Another point that the waivers bring to light is that issues with the bill have been brought to light almost immediately. This is sure indication that this was a poorly written law, that was not throughly vetted and was rushed into passage. Granting waivers is an admission of this and points to the need to repeal the law and start over again.