House Panel Goes After Health Care Waivers

Posted March 22, 2011 at 10:56am

House Republicans continued to try to pick apart President Barack Obama’s health care law Tuesday, using the Small Business Committee to investigate the more than 1,000 temporary waivers that the Obama administration has given to companies, labor unions and states that do not meet the new law’s guidelines.

Small Business Chairman Sam Graves (Mo.) and Health and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Renee Ellmers (N.C.) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on the number of small businesses requesting waivers, the names of the businesses and the number of employees at each business that successfully obtained waivers as well as a detailed explanation of how the waiver process was developed, among other information. They asked that Sebelius provide the information within two weeks.

“We want to ensure that all entities, particularly small businesses, have been treated fairly and equitably in the waiver process,” the two wrote. “For many entrepreneurs, the uncertainty of not knowing what impact of the [health care law] will be has frozen their plans to expand, invest and hire.”

The Small Business Committee is the latest panel to take issue with parts of the health care law. Republican chairmen on the House Judiciary Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Education and Workforce Committee have either held or are planning to hold hearings on the law.

House Republicans voted earlier this year to repeal the law, but the measure has gone nowhere in the Senate.