Faced with the prospects of rising costs for providing mandated increases in health care coverage, some companies have floated the possibility of dropping employee coverage altogether, most notably McDonald’s. In response, the Obama administration has granted 30 one-year waivers to McDonald’s and other businesses and insurance companies, exempting them from regulatory changes that will affect the vast majority of other businesses.
The fact that the administration has to grant waivers at all, no matter how short the duration, is a sign that the health care bill was poorly thought out and creates a fundamental disparity between favored companies and those without enough clout to ask for and receive a waiver. I guarantee you that 100% of all businesses would prefer to get an exemption similar to the one McDonald’s just received, but instead they’ll suffer unfairly simply because the administration couldn’t afford to get bad press over “too-big-to-fail” companies stressing about health care costs.
The waivers also indicate that the health care legislation is going to be a massive burden on business. The Obama administration must apparently agree with the claims that changes to mandated coverage will be too much to bear for certain companies in the short-term, otherwise they wouldn’t have issued the waivers at all. It will prove disastrous for smaller companies who are already uncertain about tax code changes and teetering on the edge of profitability during this economic recession. They won’t get the benefit of a waiver like other chosen ones.
Moves like this ensure that businesses and individuals will see health care enforcement and regulation as nothing but an arbitrary and burdensome mess that in the end will result in increased costs and a lower level of care. Waivers and 1099 requirements are what you get when you take an overreaching monstrous approach to government instead of the more responsible and deliberate piecemeal approach. That may not be fast enough for some, but on huge issues like this Congress has an obligation not to move quickly but to get it right.
Cross-posted at The Moderate Voice.