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article imagePawlenty: Pelosi's health-care waivers akin to 'crony capitalism'

By Michael Krebs     May 19, 2011 in Politics
Republican presidential candidates spoke out against waivers granted to some of the biggest cheerleaders for the health care, with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty calling Nancy Pelosi's waivers 'crony capitalism.'
In April, the Obama administration issued waivers to businesses that had expressed a need to be exempt from the mandates required in the federal health care reform legislation, known as the Affordable Care Act.
20 percent of the waivers granted nationally were for businesses residing in Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's district.
By many regards, Pelosi was the public face on the aggressive push to pass the government-sponsored health care bill, and the revelation that her constituents were among the first to seek exemption from the legislation and that Pelosi was granted such a generous waiver allotment has caused a stir among Republicans.
Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty joined a chorus of Conservative criticism, saying of the waivers that it is "crony capitalism."
Speaking with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Pawlenty said the mandate waivers are "another example of really crony politics or crony capitalism, if you've got the right connections, the right lobbyists, the right interest group, you get your special deal, and the rest of us get our wallet out, and that's in the tax code, it's in earmarking, and now you see it in ObamaCare," according to a column in The New American.
"On May 13, the Obama administration announced the approval of 204 new waivers from compliance with the PPACA," The National Review Online notes in its analysis of the matter. "That brings to 1,372 the number of waivers HHS has granted in the 14 months since the law’s passage. The waivers are temporary, designed to prevent wholesale bankruptcies of insurance and other companies before most of the law’s provisions take full effect in 2014. “We are committed to making the waiver process transparent to the public,” an HHS spokesman offered reassuringly. But while the identities of those who have received waivers have been disclosed, the administration has so far declined to reveal the names of those whose waiver requests were denied. Nor has HHS explained its criteria."
However, the waivers in Pelosi's district have been explained as a product of the health care administrator Flex Plan Services and not the result of Nancy Pelosi's influence.
But Pawlenty attributes the waivers to the difficulties imposed by the health care law's mandates.
"I don't blame people for trying to get out from underneath it — that it is an awful law," Pawlenty said. "But when you have that many needs for exemptions, it tells you that the law — it is a warning sign that the law is broken and doesn't work."
More about Nancy pelosi, Health care reform, Pelosi, Obama, Obamacare
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