GOP Speaks Out Against Reform Waivers Granted to Pelosi’s S.F. District
Republicans are speaking out against the Obama administration and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in response to a Daily Caller article reporting that 19% of recently issued federal health reform law waivers went to businesses in Pelosi's district, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
Last week, the Obama administration announced that it had approved 204 waivers over the last month and a half ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/17). The waivers provide businesses with a one-year exemption from a provision in the reform law that prohibits caps on health benefits (California Healthline, 3/11).
According to the Daily Caller article, 38 of the 204 new waivers went to businesses located in Pelosi's San Francisco-area district.
The article prompted criticism from Republican leaders, who suggested that the Obama administration was practicing favoritism by granting a substantial number of health reform waivers to Pelosi's constituents.
Michael Steel -- spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- said, "It looks like ObamaCare's backroom sweetheart deals didn't end when it became law."
Steve Larsen -- director of HHS' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight -- said that Pelosi was not involved in decisions about the waivers and that San Francisco businesses were not given special treatment (Lillis/Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/17).
According to the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco businesses might be more likely to apply for reform law waivers because they face a health care mandate under Healthy San Francisco, the city's universal health care program. Healthy San Francisco requires all businesses with more than 20 workers to provide health coverage for their employees or pay into a city health care pool.
Rob Black -- executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association -- said, "We have mandatory health care expenditures. We are the only place I know of in the country that has that." He added, "Because we have a 100% expenditure rate, we are going to have a much higher take-up rate (of waivers) than the country as a whole" (Duxbury, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 5/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.