U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp released a letter to Sec. Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on the waiver process.
Heading in to a seven-stop town hall tour in Kansas, Congressman Tim Huelskamp released the contents of a letter that he sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Thirty-one of his colleagues signed on to the letter, including the entire Kansas delegation: Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Congressman Mike Pompeo and Kevin Yoder.
"The process by which waivers are approved and denied remains largely unknown," Congressman Huelskamp said. "I asked my colleagues to join in this letter in the name of transparency, fairness, and due process. We are hoping Secretary Sebelius will shine some sunshine on the waiver process, making it known how businesses and labor unions are chosen or denied exemptions."
"The only fair solution for dealing with Obamacare is to grant everyone a waiver," Congressman Huelskamp said. "Equal treatment under the law should allow anyone who seeks exemption to be granted it. It is sheer hypocrisy to say that this is about healthcare 'equality,' but still grant special privilege exemptions to labor unions and businesses. Evidence continues to flow forth that these waivers are sometimes about who you know, as a multitude of them have been granted to labor unions that have supported the President or to businesses that are in Former Speaker Pelosi's district. This entire waiver process screams of political favoritism and is an abomination to the democratic process, to the concept of equality under the law, and to individual freedom and liberty."
The letter calls on Secretary Sebelius to release additional information about waivers that have been granted or denied to businesses and labor unions seeking not to have to comply with the rules and regulations of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was the major health care law reform passed by the last Democrat-led Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
As the letter states, nearly 1,400 waivers have been granted, but little is known about the additional requests that remain pending or that have been denied.
Text of letter:
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We are writing to request additional information regarding applications for waivers and adjustments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
As of May 13, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had granted 1,372 Annual Limit Waivers and granted Medical Loss Ratio adjustments to Maine, New Hampshire and Nevada. The states of Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, North Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana and Kansas and the territory of Guam have submitted requests that have not yet been decided.
Nearly fourteen hundred waivers have been granted in addition to unknown numbers of additional requests that remain pending or have been denied. At rate of nearly 100 per month since the PPACA was signed into law, we are concerned this demonstrates fatal flaws in last year's health reform legislation. In order to better understand your reasons for granting these waivers, we specifically request:
1. All information on the number and type of requests that have been denied by HHS, including the names of all applicants and the city and state where each applicant is based. This includes requests for Annual Limit Waivers, State Innovation Waivers, Medical Loss Ratio adjustments, and any other Affordable Care Act waiver or adjustment.
2. All information on the number and type of requests currently pending that have not been made public on the HHS website, including the names of all applicants, the city and state where each applicant is based, the date when each application was received and the current status of each application.
3. The average length of time HHS takes to decide requests for Annual Limit Waivers, State Innovation Waivers, Medical Loss Ratio adjustments or any other type of waiver or adjustment.
We are asking you to fulfill President Obama's commitment to openness and transparency by providing us with the above information as soon as possible, but not later than June 15, 2011.