(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration has granted one-year waivers to 10 separate local chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), exempting it from a requirement under the new health care law that bans annual limits on what insurance plans will pay for medical coverage.
The UFCW political action committee contributed $673,309 in independent expenditures on the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
That committee, called the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Active Ballot Club, also contributed $1.8 million to Democratic federal candidates in 2008 and $1.7 million to Democratic congressional candidates in 2010.
The health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, bans annual caps on medical coverage beginning in 2014. It prohibits an insurance plan from limiting how much it will spend on a policy holder’s medical coverage each year.
Under the law, the Department of Health and Human Services is phasing the coverage limits out, as yearly caps can be no less than $750,000 for 2011, no less than $1.25 million in 2012 and no less than $2 million in 2013.
In September, the HHS announced it would grant waivers to employers to prevent some workers from losing their benefits, if the insurer could not meet the health care law’s requirements on annual limits.
The waivers are granted by the
The 10 UFCW waivers cover a total of 28,704 enrollees.
UFCW Communications Director Jim Papian said he believed the plans with waivers were negotiated health plans with the various employers of the membership. The annual limits on these plans would vary from each local chapter, he added.
“The waiver prospect is a way to make sure the regulations are working for workers, working for business, working for communities where these businesses serve, working for taxpayers,” Papian told CNSNews.com.
“If you look at all major legislation, whether it be even the Social Security legislation passed in the Roosevelt administration or Medicare that was passed in the Johnson administration, these acts go through an enormous process to tweak them in order to get to the most positive results that actually serve the people they are meant to serve,” he added.
The local organizations receiving the waivers include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445 New Hampshire, covering 148 enrollees. The
Another group getting a waiver is the UFCW Local 1000. Its health insurance plan covers 3,855 workers in
On Jan. 1, the
Effective May 1, the United Food and Commercial Workers and Participating Employers Interstate Health and Welfare Fund, covering 9,780 enrollees, will receive a waiver.
The UFCW Local 1995 got a waiver effective
The UFCW Local 227 got a waiver on
The UFCW Local 455 waiver was approved on Jan. 1, covering 59 enrollees in parts of
A total of 5,390 enrollees are affected by the waiver for UFCW Local 1262, approved on
The federal government issued waivers to 222 entities: companies, unions and charitable organizations. Among these groups, 45 are labor union organizations. A total of 1,507,418 enrollees are affected by the waivers. More than one-third -- 512,315 – of the enrollees affected are insured under the union plans.
CNSNews.com previously reported that the United Federation of Teachers, representing
Karl Rove, White House advisor to former President George W. Bush, said in a commentary for The Wall Street Journal that the labor unions have disproportionately benefited from Obama administration waivers.
“It’s not hard to connect the dots,” Rove wrote on Jan. 6. “The Obama administration is using waivers to reward friends. On the flip side, business executives will be discouraged from contributing to the president’s opponents or from taking any other steps that might upset the White House or its political appointees at HHS.”
Papian disagreed with that assertion.
“I don’t think that’s the case,” Papian told CNSNews.com. “Businesses have applied. Unions have applied. I think it’s meant to serve the American people, business and workers.”