Politics

Biden drops ball, ‘fails to deliver’ Obamacare waiver stipulations to Senate

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter

President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul “transparency” and “openness” took another turn for the worst at the beginning of this week as it’s recently come to light that Vice President Joe Biden has failed to deliver certain necessary information on rules and regulations to the Senate.

Specifically, the new regulations Biden dropped the ball with were, according to a GOP Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee staffer, “the entire final HHS rule for Health Insurance Issuers Implementing Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Biden was supposed to deliver the regulations last fall.

The MLR requirements, mandatory Obamacare stipulations all insurance providers except for the lucky for few who’ve received MLR waivers have to fulfill, force health insurance companies to spend 80 to 85 percent of their premiums on patients’ medical expenses.

That means the remaining 15 to 20 percent of premiums have to cover the rest of these companies’ expenses, including taxes and administrative expenses, in addition to providing a profit. And, to top it off, it’s all done in the name of lowering insurance premium prices.

Another major part of this rule, according to the GOP Senate HELP Committee staffer, is that a large portion of Obamacare waivers, including three of the seven statewide waivers the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has handed out, have been exemptions from the MLR requirements. The MLR waiver numbers pale in comparison to annual limit requirement waivers, though.

Even so, this Obamacare stipulation’s fans and foes can agree on one thing: Biden’s job as Senate President is to deliver the rule from HHS to the Senate Parliamentarian so Senators can debate the rule and offer resolutions of disapproval.

As Sen. Mike Enzi, Wyoming Republican and Ranking Member on the Senate HELP Committee, has pointed out, Biden’s failed to do the job though. Today, Enzi wrote to Biden asking he “take immediate action to formally transmit this rule,” because, without it in the Senate Parliamentarian’s possession, Senators can’t debate it or offer resolutions of disapproval.

“This denies senators their right to file Resolutions of Disapproval and utilize procedures established under the Congressional Review Act to review new regulations,” Enzi wrote to Biden. “This is especially troubling, since this rule has the potential to eliminate hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, undermine efforts to detect and prevent health care fraud, and discourage investments that could improve health care quality and reduce costs. I was disturbed to see recent press reports indicating that that the Administration may disregard the law and not submit this regulation to the U.S. Senate.”

Enzi went on to “urge” Biden “to determine why this regulation has not been formally submitted to the Senate” and asked him to “take all necessary steps to rectify this problem immediately.”

Biden’s office did not return The Daily Caller’s requests for comment.