When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said of Obamacare, “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” apparently she meant that it would include pain and suffering for America’s businesses, except for those fortunate enough to get waivers, including a few high-class restaurants, night clubs and hotels that reside in her congressional district. Matthew Boyle at The Daily Caller reports:
Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.
Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.
Boyle writes that the establishments in Pelosi’s district stand apart from other recipients of waivers, like labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments:
For instance, Boboquivari’s restaurant in Pelosi’s district in San Francisco got a waiver from Obamacare. Boboquivari’s advertises $59 porterhouse steaks, $39 filet mignons and $35 crab dinners.
Then, there’s Café des Amis, which describes its eating experience as “a timeless Parisian style brasserie” which is “located on one of San Francisco’s premier shopping and strolling boulevards, Union Street,” according to the restaurant’s Web site.
As sensational and / or ironic as it is that businesses in Pelosi’s district would be granted 20 percent of the latest round of waivers from the health care law that Pelosi fought so hard for, it’s not the first time waivers have been granted. The Heritage Foundation’s Kathryn Nix writes that as of March, “over 1,000 companies, covering nearly 2.4 million employees, have been granted waivers to escape the burdensome requirements of Obamacare.” Nix explains why companies are seeking the waivers:
Obamacare forbids insurers from placing annual and lifetime limits on health plans. These “consumer protections” have endangered the limited coverage plans that some employers currently offer. Unable to provide more comprehensive coverage, those employers would be forced to drop coverage altogether if they abide by the new law. To avoid this consequence of the new law, employers are flocking to secure the waivers offered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to keep their employees covered.
In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Heritage’s Ed Haislmaier called into question the legality and fairness of the waiver process, which has led to a system that is based not on “the rule of law” but rather on “the rule of ‘who you know.’” His recommendation? Congress should instruct HHS to eliminate the waiver program altogether.
Click here to read more about Obamacare waivers, their legality and the transparency of the waiver process.
Mike Brownfield oversees execution of The Heritage Foundation . http://www.heritage.org/ social networking strategy and online media outreach as the think tank’s senior digital communications associate.