Last month, April 2011, the federal government issued 204 additional new waivers to President Obama’s signature piece of legislation that was misnamed the Affordable Care Act; more commonly known as Obamacare. That makes over 1700 waivers that have been granted thus far to various labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms, and local governments to excuse them from having to comply with this new law, like the rest of the nation will have to do.
What is particularly unusual is that in this last batch of 204 waivers, nearly forty of them all went to one congressional district. In other words, one congressional district out of 435 received nearly 20 percent of the waivers issued in this last round. Who is the congresswoman for this district, you ask? Well, it is none other than the former Speaker of the House and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Ms. Pelosi maintains that this is simply a coincidence and that she had nothing to do with this seemingly disproportionate awarding of waivers to businesses and friends within her own congressional district. What is further striking is that many of these waivers went to expensive top-notch restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels in Pelosi’s district.
This is quite a departure from the typical businesses that were awarded waivers in the past. Indeed, restaurants such as McDonald's now have something in common with such upscale places as Boboquivari’s in San Francisco, which advertises $59 porterhouse steaks, $39 filet mignons, and $35 crab dinners. Both businesses now are exempt from having to abide by the dictates of the Affordable Care Act. Now aside from the fact that this supposedly well-intentioned and yet un-constitutional health care law was designed to fix all of our health care issues and provide coverage for all of those yet un-insured folks, whether they really wanted coverage or not, one has to ask why is it even necessary to grant waivers, let alone so danged many of them, if this is such a fantastic law?
The fact that local governments and some unions are the biggest beneficiaries of these waivers, and thus will not be lawfully obligated to abide by the very law that so many of their members fought and argued for, strikes me as inconsistent at best and perniciously hypocritical at worst. I guess we can add the friends of Nancy to this list of now-waivered hypocrites. After all, laws are only meant for those of us without political clout and connections which would allow us to otherwise skirt these nuisance laws. It’s just one more bit of hope and change to believe in, I suppose.