Politics

GOP intends to investigate Obamacare’s union waivers

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Labor unions have received 40 percent of the exemptions granted by the Obama administration from certain Obamacare provisions, prompting calls from top Republicans for investigations into whether President Barack Obama’s administration has offered “special treatment” to those groups in its waiver decision process.

The waivers allow certain companies and special interests, like labor unions, to delay meeting Obamacare’s requirements for purchasing more health insurance for employees or members. The minimum amount of insurance group policyholders have to purchase is set to increase every year through 2014 as the Department of Health and Human Services is phasing out the annual coverage limits companies were previously allowed to provide for employees.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, said he’s certain there’s special treatment for the labor unions going on with these Obamacare waivers, and that it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out.

“You’re going to find out that by the president doing that with the secretary of HHS, he violated one of his main principles when he ran for office — and that was that special interests were not going to have an in in his administration,” Grassley said in an interview with CNS News. “And this is a perfect example of special interests having an in in his administration when they get those waivers.”

Cato Institute healthcare expert Michael Cannon told The Daily Caller he suspects this is the Obama administration paying back the unions.

“It smacks of corruption. Unions are more supportive of the Democratic Party and they seem to be getting favors from a Democratic administration,” Cannon said in a phone interview.

Without a Republican majority in the Senate, though, Grassley lacks subpoena power, but Cannon said that hasn’t been a serious weakness for Grassley in the past.

“Senator Grassley does a good job of holding different agencies feet to the fire, even when he doesn’t have the subpoena power,” Cannon said. “I would hope that the House Committee on Government Reform would do this as well, as they do have the subpoena power.”

But for Grassley to be able to investigate corruption, he needs subpoena power. Without it, he will have to work with House Republicans, who do have subpoena power, to probe the issue. Grassley, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he plans to seek help from House Republicans in looking whether the Obama administration has offered unions special treatment in the waiver application process.

In the House, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, has already started probing the Obama administration’s apparent favoritism towards unions. Upton and fellow Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, have asked a special office of the Obama administration’s health department, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), for an explanation on how it determines which companies or special interest groups get waivers approved and which ones don’t.

Cannon suspects they will find some problems.

“There’s no power like arbitrary power. The administration has laid out no clear rules for who gets waivers and who doesn’t,” Cannon told TheDC. “If the administration uses wording like ‘under the totality of the circumstances,’ it shows that the administration doesn’t have any guidelines or that they do, and they don’t want to tell you.”

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  • kingfish

    Mr. Grassley, you’ve been in congress FOREVER. Instead of “investigating” the waivers, you should be REPEALING OBAMACARE in the Senate. You criminals in congress have continuously voted AGAINST THE PEOPLE and YOU need to go home, along with all the other LIFERS.
    Besides REPEALING OBAMACARE, before you leave:

    1) Repeal the Patriot Act, rather than sneaking around renewing it
    2) Repeal S510, the draconian Food Safety Act that prohibits us from growing gardens
    3) STOP Monsanto’s GM alfalfa which will invade all other crops
    4) STOP CHEMTRAILS sprayed from military aircraft on the population
    5) STOP COREXIT DUMPING IN THE GULF
    5) Prosecute the Government criminals and congressional oversight committee responsible for the Gulf COVERUP and FAILURE to do their jobs
    6) FIRE JANET NAPOLITANO. STOP her refusal to allow competition against TSA.
    7) STOP TSA thugs abuse of citizens.
    8) STOP pushing electric cars, and confiscate the REAL technology (which Americans have paid for) away from the military-industrial complex. We were driving the same 25 mpg cars in the 60′s. We should be driving space-ships by now.
    9) FIRE THE FDA CHIEF (slave to the pharmaceutical industry).
    BAN ASPARTAME.
    10) STOP FDA RAIDS (with guns drawn) on organic farms, raw milk dairies, and vitamin stores.
    11) ABOLISH the Dept of Education, which has CAUSED scores to decrease every year since the FEDS took it over. It worked better at the county and local levels without Americans paying for a huge non-functioning govt agency in the middle.
    12) ABOLISH the Dept of Energy which is doing NOTHING toward providing energy free cars and houses….another ALBATROSS around our necks.
    13) STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION and ILLEGAL welfare and social services costing $385 BILLION PER YR.

    Mr. Grassley, you ignored Sibel Edmonds, the FBI interpreter and participated in the FBI gagging her for 8 years. For one time in your life, pass some legislation that’s actually “FOR” the people.

  • spike1120

    It is very pleasing to know that Chuck has the brass to pursue what would be scandalous in any other administration but is business as usual for ibn obammy and his political donors.

  • bethofbna

    You actually call it “ObamaCare” in your article, and expect to be taken seriously? Too funny.

    • The_anniebanannie

      If it’s so great, why are you libs so furious about attaching Obama’s name to it?

  • ProgressivesRfools

    The real question is do the republicans have the stomach for the hard fight ahead or will the fold when the politics of personal destruction begin from the Progressives.

    • ladylove

      you got that right, they too can become very complacent.

      that is why WE THE PEOPLE must stay on the alert,

  • SargeH

    Really, is anyone at all surprised that the Thug in Chief and his posse are doing this?

    • ladylove

      no, Andy Sterns did not visit Obama those many, many times just to say hello, especially when some of those visits, were hush, hush, behind closed door meetings.

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  • letsbehonest

    Yeah.. they should investigate those waivers. Then they should investigate his birth certificate. Then they should investigate his wife and daughters. Then they could investigate the investigation. Nothing creates jobs more than investigations. Go GOP!!! Thank you for concentrating on the economy and job creation with these investigations.

    • ladylove

      and the reality is, you are more right than you know.

      despite your act, to the contrary.

    • SargeH

      I thought your leader, the Thug in Chief, had already fixed the economy and job situation.

    • truebearing

      lieyourleftistassoff,

      Now you’re concerned about jobs, are you? Why weren’t you concerned when Maobama blew through a trillion dollars and unemployment got worse? Moron.

      You were for Kevorkian Care, which will destroy even more jobs, and drive up costs for health care, which it was supposedly going to lower. What about those facts, pea-brain?

      You forgot the investigations of the Black Panther episode, Obama offering government jobs to Sestak and others to quit running for office, ripping off GM’s secured bond holders, the firing of an Inspector General who was on to more Obama cronyism corruption, the Communist groups infiltrating the FCC, the unions involvement in ACORN, Acorn, Obama paying ACORN during the election, Obama’s “loan” to Petrobas, Obama’s ties with Soros, Obama’s “Safe School” Czar and his homo-erotic indoctrination of little children, corruption in the EPA, corruption in the DOE, and the list goes on, ad infinitum.

      • ladylove

        once again my friend, the TRUTH remains the TRUTH, always has always will…