3,497 Pages of Documents Include HHS Correspondence and Internal Emails Regarding Obamacare Waivers
WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it recently obtained 3,497 pages of documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Judicial Watch obtained the records as a result of a Freedom of Information Act FOIA) lawsuit filed on December 30, 2010 (Judicial Watch v. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 10-2328)).
The records include internal HHS email correspondence and strategic documents, as well as email communications with unions and companies applying for waivers. The records also include preliminary drafts and multiple versions of the health care plan along with comments from the Office of Management and Budget, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other agencies with concerns and suggestions for revising the plan.
The majority of the communications related to the granting of waivers by the Secretary of HHS exempting companies and unions from the minimum annual cap on the amount payable to an individual in benefits. Such waivers enable companies and unions to keep their existing plans in place until January 1, 2014.
As of July 2011, 1,472 one-year waivers and 106 three-year waivers were granted, covering some 3.4 million enrollees, more than half of which belong to unions. Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members account for only about 12% of the total workforce.
Judicial Watch previously obtained documents from HHS regarding closed-door health care meetings between union officials and Vice President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle. The documents include a list of all of the labor union leaders who attended a meeting with President Obama, along with brief biographical information on each participant. The list includes: Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO; Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; and Jim Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among other Big Labor leaders. The documents suggest that the key provisions of the Obamacare law were written solely to address the concerns of union interests.
Speaking at a rally for organized labor over Labor Day Weekend attended by Barack Obama, Hoffa criticized the Tea Party and urged attendees to get out the vote for Democrats: "President Obama, this is your army…Everybody here has got to vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize, let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to America where we belong."
"This first batch of documents has the gory bureaucratic details of the Obamacare mess. The Obama administration has tried to keep its government takeover of healthcare veiled in secrecy, especially the details of these waivers. Waiving the law for 3.4 million Americans is unfair and an affront to the rule of law," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It seems corrupt when political supporters in Big Labor are getting a disproportionate number of waivers from Obamacare. Unions helped write the Obamacare law, and then get exempted from it! Now Big Labor is paying back these waiver favors with campaign support for Barack Obama. Judicial Watch is committed to bringing as much transparency as possible to Obamacare, especially this ongoing abuse of the 'waiver' process."
For further information, please visit www.judicialwatch.org.
SOURCE Judicial Watch