GOP bill would expand health plan waivers

March 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- A Republican member of Congress has introduced a bill that would allow individuals to apply to be exempt from the new U.S. healthcare law.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said Thursday he was inspired by the large number of waivers granted corporate and union healthcare plans, The Hill reported. As of Thursday, 1,040 plans had been given one-year exemptions to the ban on coverage limits.

"If the SEIU gets a waiver and McDonald's gets a waiver, shouldn't the average person who's impacted by this get a waiver, too?" the congressman asked.

Other Republicans say the waivers show the Affordable Care Act needs to be scrapped. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been investigating the waivers.

"The fact that over 1,000 waivers have been granted is a tacit admission that the healthcare law is fundamentally flawed," he said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the waivers are a temporary fix as parts of the plan take effect. The administration fears some companies and unions with "mini-med plans" might simply stop offering health insurance if forced to scrap limits on coverage.

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