543,812 union workers receive waivers

Catholic Online reports:

“The overwhelming majority of waivers from the president’s health care reform law remain Labor unions, which have continued to receive the largest amount of waivers since the Obama administration tightened application rules last summer. Documents released last week in a news program reported that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama’s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – Private employers, in marked contrast, with a total of 69,813 employees, most of whom work for small businesses were granted waivers.

The Department of Health and Human Services revised the rules governing applications for health reform waivers June 17, 2011. The action has generated much controversy on news programs and Web sites. One such example was the Daily Caller’s story that nearly 20 percent of last May’s waivers went to businesses in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Californian district.

Labor unions receiving waivers included those monitored under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act — and those that are not. The waivers granted since June 17 are valid until 2013, but recipients must make sure their employees understand the “limits of their coverage,” according to HHS documents.

HHS granted waivers on a year-by-year basis under its initial application process, but waivers granted after June 17 are valid for a maximum of two-and-a-half years.

Unions have been among the biggest supporters of the health care overhaul, a law from which nearly a half million of their workers are now exempt.

The constitutionality of health care reform goes to the Supreme Court in late march. The questions the high court asked lawyers to argue when the justices consider appeals of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will include:

Does Congress have the power to mandate that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty?

If the requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional, is the whole law unconstitutional? What other parts of the law, if any, could survive?

Is Congress illegally coercing states to expand Medicaid, the subsidized health care for the poor and disabled, by threatening to withhold funding from states that refuse?

Since the penalty for not buying health insurance doesn’t go into effect until federal income taxes are due in 2015, are legal arguments currently brought against the health care overhaul premature?”