The “vastly popular” program known as Obamacare is now the subject of 1433 waivers covering some 3.2 million people. That is an increase of 61 new waivers since the end of April and approximately 100,000 additional employees.
There is nothing surprising in that news, but, a new policy initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is. They have apparently decided that the release of new waivers every 4 to 5 weeks is, well, embarrassing. Particularly because the issuance of these waivers, much like that annoying slow drip in your kitchen faucet, would continue roughly monthly for the next two years. So, here is the new plan.
On June 17, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a process for plans that have already received waivers and want to renew those waivers for plan or policy years beginning before January 1, 2014. The new guidance extends the duration of waivers that have been granted through 2013, if applicants submit annual information about their plan and comply with requirements to ensure that their enrollees understand the limits of their coverage. Existing waiver recipients must apply to extend their current waiver and all applications must be submitted by September 22, 2011; after that date applications for an extension will no longer be considered. Any plans that have not yet applied for a waiver also must apply by September 22, 2011.
So, if you have a waiver and wish to continue it until 2014, or if you don’t need a waiver now, but may need one before 2014, you must apply by September 22, 2011. That way, Obamacare will experience only one embarrassing moment, rather than a continuing series of black eyes.
Also of interest, we now have a list of those entities denied waivers. 100 applicants were initially denied a waiver, but of those 29 ultimately were given a waiver “on appeal”, and 4 “appeals” are pending.
The only conclusion I can draw is that this law is so terrible that even the government can’t handle the constant bad PR.