White House, Pelosi: Obamacare waivers a regular thing, we’ve approved more than 1300

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney downplayed the significance of the administration’s approval of Obamacare waivers amid the uproar over 38 Obamacare waivers luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants, hip nightclubs, day spas and four-star hotels received in April in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district.

In the Tuesday press briefing, he said the administration has approved more than 1,300 waivers from the health care law’s requirements, and has rejected less than 100 waiver-applications. The total of approved waivers “is not that much,” he said, adding that the temporary waivers were granted to organizations that offer their employees relatively cheap insurance coverage, dubbed “mini-med” insurance.

But, of the 204 waivers the administration approved in April, 38 of them, or about 20 percent, were for businesses in Pelosi’s district.

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshani told The Daily Caller that waiver applications are “reviewed and granted solely by the administration in an open and transparent process so workers currently enrolled in ‘mini-med’ policies like those in San Francisco and across the country will not be punished and lose the minimum coverage they already have.” He added that the waivers will be eliminated by 2014, which he says is when, “Americans will have an opportunity to shop for affordable coverage on the health exchanges and will no longer be at the mercy of insurance companies placing coverage limits on policies.”

Even so, it remains unclear as to how the administration decides who gets waivers and who doesn’t, and how the administration decides which businesses and companies move to the front of the waiver approval line.

Elshani attacked Pelosi’s critics like Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who both told TheDC the new revelation seems more like corruption and “backroom sweetheart deals.”

“It is pathetic that there are those who would be cheering for Americans to lose their minimum health coverage or see their premiums increase for political purposes,” Elshani said. “The complaints coming from this crowd that supports ending Medicare is just another example of putting politics first.”

Pelosi’s office denies any personal connection to the companies in her district that were awarded waivers.