Editor: The first anniversary of Obamacare has passed, but the stench remains. Waivers are contributing to the foul odor.
Until January this year the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a list of those to whom waivers were granted on its website. Now the website says the list is closed and directs inquiring citizens to another website (http://cciio.cms.gov/) for information about the program. The only information readily available there is how to submit a waiver.
From available records, it appears that most early waivers were granted to unions and Obama campaign donors. In other words, the waiver process smells like cronyism at its worst.
The Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies group requested the waivers list, the process by which waivers are granted, and the criteria for granting waivers from DHS. But they’ve been stonewalled, which forced them to file a lawsuit to obtain the records. Where is the promised transparency?
By initially putting these records on the DHS website the administration admitted they knew the public was entitled to this information. So why has Obama’s Administration reversed itself?
In testimony before Congress, Steven Larson, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (whew), says granting waivers was always planned as part of the effort to phase out mini-med plans. The problem with his argument is that the health care bill itself has 21 specific conditions for granting waivers, and phasing out mini-med plans isn’t one of them.
From the available information it appears this administration’s regulatory apparatus has exceeded its statutory authority and has violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Citizens don’t know this for sure because the Obama Administration isn’t releasing the records.
Transparency, which Obama promised Americans, is the simple way to clear this up. If the administration is trying to hide something, they should realize that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. President Obama, release the records.