The Hill: Health Law Waivers Exceed 1,000
The number of temporary waivers granted thus far by the Obama administration reached a total of 1,040 by the end of last week. Meanwhile, regarding another controversial part of the new law, The Hill reports on the possibility of finding alternatives to the individual mandate.
The Hill: Number Of Health Care Reform Law Waivers Climbs Above 1,000
The number of temporary health care reform waivers granted by the Obama administration to organizations climbed to more than 1,000, according to new numbers disclosed by the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the health care reform law enacted almost a year ago. Waivers have become a hot-button issue for Republicans, eager to expose any vulnerabilities in the reform law. In order to avoid disruption in the insurance market, the health care overhaul gives HHS the power to grant waivers to firms that cannot meet new annual coverage limits in 2011. The waivers have typically been granted to so-called "mini-med" plans that offer limited annual coverage - as low as $2,000 - that would fall short of meeting the new annual coverage floor of $750,000 in 2011 (Millman, 3/6).
The Hill: Backers Doubt States Will Find Alternatives To Health Care Mandate
The staunchest supporters of health care reform say President Obama's challenge this week for states to pitch their own reforms is a crafty political move that bolsters the case for the so-called individual mandate. They say a viable alternative to the health care reform law's requirement for individuals to purchase insurance is unlikely to emerge from a proposal to allow states to opt out of the law within three years, which Obama endorsed under certain circumstances. ... Failure to develop an alternative to the individual mandate could be bad news for centrist Senate Democrats facing tough elections in 2012. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) all up for reelection in 2012 have expressed considerable interest in finding alternatives to the individual mandate (Millman, 3/5).