Bringing transparency to the waivers

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In an effort to shed more light on the Obama administration’s allocation of Affordable Health Care law waivers, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa and Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign have introduced legislation to require greater transparency in the waiver application process.

Their legislation, the “Health Care Waiver Transparency Act,” if passed, will require the Department of Health and Human Services to publish each waiver application, the reason an application was approved or rejected, and will prohibit preferential treatment for political contributors or organized labor groups.

“Small businesses across my state have been struggling with the high costs of the health care law,” said Ensign. “My amendment will require full transparency of waiver applications to ensure that larger employers and groups with political clout do not crowd out the small businesses who are being hit with the high costs of this unconstitutional law.”

Issa added that Americans deserve an open process.

“The American people have a right to know the criteria the federal government is using to grant or deny health care law waivers,” said Issa. “Congress shouldn’t allow the curtain of secrecy that shaded negotiations of the new health care bill to now cover-up how the Administration is dealing with cases where the law threatens to cost Americans their health insurance or endure other hardships. This bill will shine some needed sunlight on what’s happening.”

To date, the Obama administration has issued more than a thousand health care waivers to organizations desiring a year-long exemption from the law’s coverage requirement.

“Democrats continue to tout the benefits of the health care reform, yet some of their biggest political contributors such as labor unions are filing for waivers,” said Ensign. “The more than one thousand waivers that have already been granted should send a strong signal of how economically damaging this law is, and now more than ever we need to work toward full repeal.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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