Unions Are Major Recipients of Obama Health Care Waivers

Doctors in conferenceWhen President Obama in March 2010 signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), the nation’s most expensive social legislation in decades, he announced, “The bill I’m signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see.” Yet what the law seems to have set in motion is a rush to obtain exemptions from group coverage requirements. New data show nearly 1,400 insurers, employers, unions and other organizations thus far have received waivers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from a requirement that forces group health plans to offer at least $750,000 in payouts per enrollee this year, a figure set to rise even higher until its phase-out in 2014. The situation is emerging as a lesson in how government, once enlarged, becomes a favor factory. And unions are receiving lots of favors.

A …

Flaherty Warns of Entitlement Crisis on CNBC; Blasts Obama’s $250 Checks for Elderly

Today I debated Julie Roginsky of the Comprehensive Communications Group on CNBC’s The Call on how we will ever pay for benefits now being promised the elderly. Our exchange begins at about 2:45 of the clip. Co-hosts were Trish Regan and Larry Kudlow.

Here’s a transcipt:

Trish Regan: So at a time when the Administration is looking to cut health care costs. Fears here over health care costs, we were just talking about all of that. Can the government really afford big benefits for the elderly? It is our Call of the Wild debate. We want to bring in Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal and Policy Center and Julie Roginsky, Democratic strategist at the Comprehensive Communications Group and a CNBC contributor. Great to see both of you. Peter, I will begin with you. Can we really afford this and do you see this as essentially a case …

‘New’ Al Sharpton Draws Praise from Obama, Top Officials

Sharpton photoIf Reverend Al Sharpton was radioactive to future President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, he’s become a shadow member of the Obama cabinet in 2010. The close working relationship between the radical black civil rights leader and leading administration officials was very much in evidence last week at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers where Sharpton’s nonprofit group, National Action Network (NAN), held its 12th annual convention.

Three Obama cabinet members – Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan – spoke at the heavily corporate-bankrolled four-day event, which featured top-echelon personalities drawn from the worlds of politics, business, labor, clergy, philanthropy and entertainment. The Obama administration believes the radical black civil-rights leader’s newfound “pragmatic” style is a political asset. Yet the older, incendiary Al Sharpton remains just beneath the surface.

For an examination of how we got to this …