Dude, Where`s My Obamacare Waiver?

More than one million Americans
have escaped the clutches of the Democrats` destructive
federal health care law. Lucky them. Their

and labor representatives wisely applied

waivers earlier this fall and got out
while the getting was good. Now, it`s time for Congress
to create a permanent escape hatch for the rest of us.
Repeal is the ultimate waiver.

As you`ll recall, President Obama
promised repeatedly that if Americans liked their health
insurance plan, they could keep it.
"Nobody is
talking about taking that away from you,"
cajoler-in-chief assured. What he failed to communicate
to low-wage and part-time workers across the country is
that they could keep their plans—only if their companies
begged hard enough for exemptions from Obamacare`s
private insurance-killing regulations.

According to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services

, at least

111 waivers
have now been granted to companies,
unions and other organizations of all sizes who offer
affordable health insurance or prescription drug
coverage with limited benefits. Obamacare architects
sought to eliminate those low-cost plans under the guise
of controlling insurer spending on executive salaries
and marketing.

It`s all about control. If central
planners can`t dictate what health benefits qualify as
"good," what
plans qualify as
and how health care dollars are best
spent, then nobody can. The ultimate goal, of course:
precipitating a massive shift from private to government

McDonald`s, Olive Garden, Red
Lobster and Jack in the Box are among the large,
headline-garnering employers who received the temporary
waivers. But perhaps the most politically noteworthy
beneficiaries of the HHS waiver program: Big Labor.

The Service Employees Benefit Fund,
which insures a total of 12,000 SEIU health care workers
in upstate New York, secured its Obamacare exemption in
October. The Local 25 SEIU Welfare Fund in Chicago also
nabbed a waiver for 31,000 of its enrollees. SEIU, of
course, was one of Obamacare`s loudest and biggest
spending proponents. The waivers come on top of the
massive sweetheart deal that SEIU and other unions cut
with the Obama administration to exempt them from the
health care mandate`s onerous
"Cadillac tax" on high-cost health care plans until 2018.

Other unions who won protection
from Obamacare:

  • United Food and Commercial
    Workers Allied Trade Health and Welfare Trust Fund

  • International Brotherhood of
    Electrical Workers Union No. 915

  • Asbestos Workers Local 53
    Welfare Fund

  • Employees Security Fund

  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Local
    123 Welfare Fund

  • United Food and Commercial
    Workers Local 227

  • United Food and Commercial
    Workers Local 455 (Maximus)

  • United Food and Commercial
    Workers Local 1262

  • Musicians Health Fund Local 802

  • Hospitality Benefit Fund Local

  • Transport Workers Union

  • United Federation of Teachers
    Welfare Fund

  • International Union of Painters
    and Allied Trades (AFL-CIO)

  • Plus two organizations that
    appear to be chapters of the International
    Longshoremen`s Association (ILA)

Several of these labor
organizations did not respond to requests for comment
about their waivers. But Jay Blumenthal, [email
] financial vice president of the

Local 802 Musicians Health Fund
in New York, did
explain to me:
"We got grandfathered in"
(his description for
getting a pass) because
"things were moving so fast" and
"we need time now to prepare for the law." In other words: Policy
cramdowns first, political fixes later. A supporter of
Obamacare, Blumenthal told me he
"sees no irony,
in unions supporting the very health care
"reform" from
which they are now seeking relief.

Chris Rodriguez, director of human
resources at Fowler
Packing Company
]in California`s San Joaquin Valley, sees things
a little differently. Fowler pursued an HHS waiver
because their

low-wage agricultural workers
would have lost the
basic coverage his company has voluntarily offered for
years. "We take
care of our employees, and we warned (health care
officials that) if they imposed this, large numbers of
workers would lose access to affordable coverage,"

he told me. Rodriguez said he`s grateful the firm won a
waiver, but he did not lose sight of the fact that the
very policies passed to increase health insurance access
are having the opposite effect:
"That`s our government at work."

Indeed, some prominent government
officials who lobbied hardest for Obamacare are now also
joining waiver-mania—including liberal Democratic Sen.

Ron Wyden,
who has been pushing for an individual
mandate exemption for his state of Oregon, and
Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who is pushing
to waive Obamacare`s burdensome 1099 reporting
requirements of small businesses.

Fearful of retribution by

HHS Secretary and chief inquisitor Kathleen Sebelius
who has threatened companies speaking out about
Obamacare`s perverse consequences, many business owners
who obtained waivers refused to talk to me on the
record. One said tersely:
"We did what we
had to do to survive."


new House GOP majority
now has the chance to protect
the rest of America from this regulatory monstrosity. We
want out.



Michelle Malkin

is the author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our


for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click


for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin
is also author of

Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild

and the just-released
Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.