WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius its May Porker of the Month for the consistently murky process by which HHS grants or denies waivers from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Sec. Sebelius received the dubious honor in the wake of preferential treatment HHS granted to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which aggressively supported the new healthcare law prior to its passage in 2010 but is seeking relief from the law now. AARP is just one of 1,372 unions, businesses, and insurers, covering 3.1 million Americans, that have received waivers from the PPACA’s onerous regulatory burdens.
“It is disgraceful that Sec. Sebelius is arbitrarily choosing when to enforce the mandates of a bill that just one year ago she claimed would be universally embraced by the American public,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Clearly, groups like AARP do not view the bill as quite the expansion of choice or affordability in healthcare that the administration claimed it would be.” Numerous CEOs and business owners, including at Starbucks, White Castle, IHOP, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants, have expressed deep concern about the impact of PPACA, stating that its provisions and mandates will dramatically drive up their costs, forcing them to lay off workers in order to remain solvent.
On May 17, 2011, the White House issued a statement trying to justify its capricious waiver-granting process, saying that HHS has the power to “issue temporary waivers from the annual limit provision of the law if it would disrupt access to existing insurance arrangements or adversely affect premiums, causing people to lose coverage,” which is exactly what the new bill was supposed to prevent. In addition, it is unclear how the annual limit provision will avoid similar problems in the future. The White House simply explains that the waivers “will not be available beginning in 2014 when annual limits are banned and all Americans will have affordable coverage options.”
“One of the many objectionable elements of the PPACA was the unprecedented level of unchecked power that will accrue to the secretary of HHS; the unaccountable nature of this waiver frenzy is just a first taste of the new imperial bent of the secretary’s position,” added Schatz. “On March 22, 2010, one day after the PPACA was passed in the Senate, Sec. Sebelius predicted that ‘once people understand what's in the bill … they'll be very enthusiastic about what Congress did last night.’ Instead, it has become clear that businesses are wary of what this bill will do to their bottom line, and that it will not control costs or improve healthcare outcomes. We are still three years away from the full implementation of the PPACA and that date is looking more and more ominous as it approaches. The time has come to give all Americans a waiver from this monstrosity by repealing the PPACA in its entirety.”
For the disjointed manner with which her department has been handing out regulatory relief to businesses that want an egress from the increasingly sickly PPACA, CAGW names HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius its May 2011 Porker of the Month.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
Leslie K. Paige, 202-467-5334
Luke Gelber, 202-467-5305
KEYWORDS: United States North America District of Columbia
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Public Policy White House/Federal Government Managed Care