The Daily Caller has learned the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) never had the authority to issue waivers from Obamacare’s annual limit requirements.
Language granting HHS that power was never in the original law. Instead, through new rules and regulations, HHS gave itself the power last summer using a broad interpretation of certain parts of the law.
The annual limit requirement waivers exempt recipients for one year from having to increase the amount of health care coverage they provide their workers. Each year between now and 2014, the minimum annual limit rises to a new, higher amount. Though the waivers are only for one year, recipients can reapply and be re-approved every year through 2014.
Heritage Foundation health policy expert Edmund Haislmaier said HHS “exceeded its statutory authority” by issuing such waivers.
“The first problem is that it appears HHS has exceeded its statutory authority in creating this waiver process,” Haislmaier said in testimony before the House Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on Health Care. “The statute does not explicitly grant HHS authority to waive the application of this provision. In contrast, I count twenty-one other sections of PPACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] in which Congress did grant HHS explicit, new waiver authority with respect to specific provisions. Thus, it is reasonable to presume that if Congress had intended the department to institute a waiver process as part of its implementation of this particular provision, Congress would have said so in the statute.”