More Health WaiversThe Obama Administration has quietly granted even more waivers to one provision of the new federal health reform law, doubling the number in just the last three weeks to a new total of 222.
One of the more recognizable business names included on the newly-expanded list of waivers issued by the feds is that of Waffle House, which received a waiver on November 23 for health coverage that covers 3,947 enrollees.
Another familiar name was that of Universal Orlando, which runs a variety of very popular resorts in the Orlando, Florida area. Universal was given a waiver for plans that cover 668 workers.
These waivers deal with limited health benefit plans, sometimes referred to as "mini-med" policies, which companies as large as McDonald's use for some its employees.
The plan have limits on how much can be paid out in coverage, limits which would be phased out under the new health reform law.
The feds though have granted waivers from that law, amid concern that certain groups would drop their health insurance programs entirely. Those waivers are good for one year, and can be considered for renewal.
A spokeswoman for Waffle House refused to explain the need for the waiver, saying "because Waffle House is a private company, we are going to decline to comment."
As for Universal Orlando, a spokesman defended the waiver in an email on Monday evening.
"The new legislation would have left our part-time workers without their medical coverage," said Tom Schroder of Universal Orlando Public Relations.
"We sought the waiver so that we could continue to provide them with the coverage they need and deserve," Schroder added.
The information on the waivers, which is buried deep on the web site of the U.S. Health & Human Services Department, shows that since it was last updated in mid-November, the number of waivers issued has gone from 111 to 222, covering organizations as diverse as the "Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Ogdensburg" to the "Pearson Candy Company."
You can find a list of all of the 222 waivers at http://is.gd/iiw3u