Health Insurance Waiver Issued to Four States

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 18, 2011 Last Updated: February 18, 2011
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Four states each received a health insurance waiver that exempted them from the health care reform law for the time being.

The health insurance waivers, issued to the states of Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee from the Obama administration, cover 900 health plans serving 2.4 million people, the New York Times reported.

Health insurance companies in the states that received the waiver can continue to offer the same types of benefits as they did previously, the report noted.

Steven B. Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told the Times that the waivers would allow a great deal of consumers to keep their coverage.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers criticized the decision to hand out the waivers, saying that if these states need exemption, then the law does not work.

"I think it is an understatement to say that these waivers have been controversial," Rep. Cliff Stearns (R—Fla.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said according to the Wall Street Journal.

Stearns bashed the law, saying it unfairly put pressure on the private sector and represented government interference.

"Today marks the beginning of what the public voted for in 2010: real and sustained oversight of the federal takeover of the healthcare industry," he said, according to the newspaper.

Larsen told the Journal that the waivers were issued in order to deal with a small amount of health plans that have yearly limits on benefits. In 2014, the health care law would abolish such plans, he added.

"The overriding purpose of this waiver program is to ensure that Americans do not lose their health coverage before better health insurance options become available in 2014," he said.


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