New Health Law Waivers

The Obama Administration has rolled out another 129 waivers to one provision of the new health reform law, with almost half of those new exemptions going to various union groups.

The extra waivers bring the total to 1,168, giving businesses, health plans, unions and others an exemption from a portion of the law that in 2011 requires an annual benefit limit of no less than $750,000.

In other words, these 1,168 waivers allow companies to limit health insurance payouts to less than $750,000 - those annual benefit limits will be phased out by 2014.

The waivers now cover almost three million Americans, but the feds argue that is "less than 2 percent of all Americans who have private health insurance.

Almost half of the new round of waivers were given to union health benefit programs, a fact that is sure spur new complaints from health law critics in the Congress, who see these waivers as evidence that the Obama health plan is flawed.

Among the unions that were recently approved for waivers:

  • Teamsters Local 237 in New York, covering over 51,000 workers
  • Carpenters District Council of Kansas City Welfare Plan, for 20,898 workers
  • Southeastern Iron Workers, for 5,143 policies
  • Minneapolis Retail Meat Cutters and Food Handlers for 10,720
  • the Fulton Fish Market Welfare Fund for 1,211