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A Thousand Waivers

There are over a thousand waivers granting exemptions from the ObamaCare disaster now.  Among the latest recipients is the entire state of Maine, which scored a valuable exemption from the requirement that every insurance company must “spend 80 cents to 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care and quality improvement,” as reported by CNBC. 

This was deemed necessary because “one of three major insurers offering individual plans in Maine would withdraw from the market altogether if the federal requirement remained in place,” a development that could end up “destabilizing the Maine individual market,” in the judgment of a federal Health and Human Services bureaucrat.

Kentucky, Nevada, and New Hampshire are looking for similar waivers.  Residents of other states are screwed.

No one outside the secret candle-lit council chambers of King Obama has any idea how these waivers are granted.  An awful lot of them go to the big labor unions that form the true core constituency of the Democrat Party.  House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) demanded an explanation earlier this year, but Health and Human Services ignored him and sent forth its robed and hooded clergy to issue several hundred fresh indulgences. 

This blizzard of waivers is more than just an annoying example of government playing favorites.  It betrays the basic rationale behind ObamaCare, which is that health care is a “basic human right.”  Since not everyone can afford to pay for it, but everyone must receive it, a collectivist solution was designed.  Insurance companies would be compelled to cover everyone, including those with “pre-existing conditions.”  Since this would create an obvious incentive for people to hold off on buying health insurance until they grew seriously ill, the “individual mandate” was conceived, violating the Constitution to force every citizen to purchase health insurance that meets the government’s standards.

In other words, everyone would be compelled to purchase health insurance from private companies, whose profits would be greatly reduced because of coverage mandates, but their revenue stream would now be guaranteed by the individual mandate.  Insurance companies would essentially become welfare agencies, while the cost of health care would be socialized and spread across the entire population.  This was justified on the moral grounds that before ObamaCare everyone paid for the health care of the indigent anyway, through an inefficient and confusing system of “cost shifting.”  Since society as a whole benefits from universal access to the “basic human right” of health care, the Left thinks it’s fair to total up the cost and spread it across the entire population.

But now we’ve got over a thousand waivers to ObamaCare, including one that applies to an entire state.  Everyone is not paying for government-run health insurance, at least not equally.  Some corporate and union entities are granted permission to step outside the system.  What kind of “universal” solution doesn’t apply to everyone?

Have you ever seen anything as outlandish as a massive national program with a thousand waivers?  Of course you have.  Almost every regulation and mandate imposed by Big Government comes with waivers and loopholes. 

The tax system is the most obvious example.  The government has been in the business of granting “waivers” from taxation for a very long time.  Exemptions are granted for various behaviors the government wishes to subsidize.  Favored corporate entities are excused from paying huge amounts of tax.  The federal tax code is even larger, more confusing, and more riddled with contradictions than ObamaCare.  Every tax season, we are treated to stories about the appalling number of tax questions that IRS agents cannot answer correctly.

The true value of waivers to the politician is measured in control.  Favored constituents can be rewarded for loyal political support.  The private sector can be alternately compelled and encouraged to do things the government is not allowed to do, or doesn’t want to be caught doing.  The State becomes a senior partner to every business, and an older brother to every citizen, carefully guiding them through the maze of penalties and subsidies it has created.

Discussing the waivers granted to certain types of minimal health insurance with The Hill, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “we don’t want to take away people’s health insurance before they have some realistic other choices.”  This illustrates another political value for the waiver: it allows the government to pose as a hero, rescuing citizens from a problem the government itself created.

There are no “universal” government solutions, and there never will be.  There is too much power to be gained by granting sanctuary from the brilliant schemes of politicians.  ObamaCare is a ship that was designed to sink.  The President’s people control access to the lifeboats.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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