GAO: HHS Okayed Waivers Mostly When High Cost Increases Were Projected
Democrats view the report as evidence that waivers were not given out by the administration as political rewards to labor unions and other allies.
Modern Healthcare: GAO Notes Apparent Threshold On Waivers
A new Government Accountability Office report found that the CMS' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight has tended to approve waivers on annual limits to health plans in applications that projected a premium increase of 10 percent or more. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bars health insurers and group plans from imposing annual dollar limits on essential benefits starting in January 2014, the law allows restricted benefits until then, and gives the HHS secretary the authority to define what those are. Applications that requested waivers for multiple plans could receive approval for some plans and not others, the GAO said (Zigmond, 6/14).
CQ HealthBeat: GAO Confirms No Reward System in Health Care Waivers, Democrats Say
The Department of Health and Human Services approved requests it received for waivers from annual limits in the health care law based on whether or not premiums for policyholders would rise significantly or access to care would be harmed, the Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday. Democrats seized upon the report as proof that HHS has not handed out favors to labor unions and other allies with the waivers, a charge Republicans have repeatedly leveled in the past few months. The GOP argument was made as recently as Monday at a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee (Norman, 6/14).