In response to the revelation that about 20 percent of the latest slew of Obamacare waivers went to luxurious restaurants, nightclubs and hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told The Daily Caller the waiver process is “corrupt.”
“Unflippingbelievable! No, wait, it is believable,” Palin said in an email to TheDC. “Seriously, this is corrupt. And anyone who still supports the Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda of centralized government takeovers of the free market and the corresponding crony capitalism is, in my book, complicit.”
President Barack Obama’s administration approved 204 new Obamacare waivers in April. Thirty-eight of them went to upscale businesses including four-star hotels, gourmet restaurants, day spas and hip nightclubs in Pelosi’s district. That’s in addition to 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved.
Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of upscale, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.
The reason the Obama administration says it has given out waivers is to exempt certain companies or policyholders from “annual limit requirements.” The applications for the waivers are “reviewed on a case-by-case basis by department officials who look at a series of factors including whether or not a premium increase is large or if a significant number of enrollees would lose access to their current plan because the coverage would not be offered in the absence of a waiver.” The waivers don’t allow a company to permanently refrain from implementing Obamacare’s stipulations, but companies can reapply for waivers annually through 2014.
UPDATE: 11:38 a.m.:
House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, spokesman Michael Steel told TheDC this is another “backroom sweetheart deal” for Obamacare.
“It looks like ObamaCare’s backroom sweetheart deals didn’t end when it became law,” Steel said in an email to TheDC. “Remember when former Speaker Pelosi said we needed to pass the bill to find out what was in it? I guess once they found out, the high-end eateries and spas in her Congressional District weren’t big fans.”
UPDATE: 2:25 p.m.:
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) jumped on TheDC’s reports of Pelosi’s district’s waivers, using them as a way to attack Democrats who voted against repealing Obamacare. In releases to several “target” districts with incumbent Democrats nationwide, NRCC staff ripped the Representatives who voted against repeal.
“Despite the fact that many of Nancy Pelosi’s own constituents in San Francisco recognize the job-destroying effects of their government takeover of healthcare, Heath Shuler still doesn’t get it,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay in the release that went to Shuler’s North Carolina district, for instance. “Shuler’s continued defense of the Democrats’ job-crushing healthcare law ignores the very real damage being done to small businesses trying to create jobs, whether they are located in San Francisco or North Carolina.”
The NRCC sent similar releases to audiences of the following Democratic representatives: Jason Altmire, Tim Holden and Mark Critz of Pennsylvania, John Barrow and Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Brian Higgins, Bill Owens, Tim Bishop, Steve Israel, Carolyn McCarthy, Anthony Weiner and Maurice Hinchey of New York, Leonard Boswell, David Loebsack and Bruce Braley of Iowa, Dennis Cardoza, Jerry McNerney, Loretta Sanchez and Jim Costa of California, Russ Carnahan of Missouri, Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Henry Cuellar and Ruben Hinojosa of Texas, Peter DeFazio, David Wu and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jim Himes of Connecticut, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Jay Inslee, Adam Smith and Rick Larsen of Washington, Bill Keating, John Tierney and Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, Dale Kildee and Gary Peters of Michigan, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Jim Matheson of Utah, Michael Michaud and Chellie Pingree of Maine, Brad Miller, David Price and Heath Shuler of North Carolina, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz of Minnesota, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Betty Sutton of Ohio and Pete Visclosky of Indiana.