At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, no reporters asked about The Daily Caller’s story on how 38 of the 204 Obamacare waivers the administration approved in April were for luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants, hip nightclubs and day spas in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district.
The only line of questioning that came close, from ABC News’s Jake Tapper, was: “switching to a domestic issue, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services has granted more than 1,300 waivers for businesses, unions, corporations for the health care law. Can you explain why so many waivers have been granted?”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney downplayed the significance of Tapper’s question. “Well, first of all, that’s not that many if you consider the number of businesses that we’re talking about here,” Carney said. “The waiver is not a waiver of the law. It is a provision of the law, and it is specifically designed to ensure that those individuals in some places of employment who have mini-med plans, these very limited coverage plans, retain the coverage that they have while the transition and the implementation of the health care law takes place.”
“By 2014 — beginning in 2014 when annual limits are completely banned, all Americans will have affordable coverage options, and these waivers will no longer be necessary and will no longer exist,” Carney continued. “It’s basically a bridging mechanism to get — to ensure that those folks who have these mini-med plans, who have this minimal leverage of coverage, are able to retain it during this period of transition.”
Tapper followed up by asking how the decisions were made and if any company has been denied a waiver.
“There have been 1,372 waivers granted and fewer than 100 waiver applications have been denied,” Carney answered. Tapper then asked why those certain applications were denied, to which Carney said he’d have to ask the Department of Health and Human Services.