I’ve corresponded offline with Avik Roy about his column today titled “Obama Administration Says It Will End â€œWaivers for Favorsâ€ The column starts out:
Having succeeded at exempting a rash of labor unions, much of Nancy Pelosiâ€™s district, the AARP, and other favored groups from costly aspects of Obamacare, the White House appears to have decided that its work is done.
Avik added a link to a recently-released GAO report. He writes:
UPDATE: Harold Pollack rightly suggests that, out of fairness, I link to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, which takes a more benign view of the Obamacare waivers program. Peter Suderman has some helpful commentary on the GAO report.
I appreciate that Avik added the link. I still believe his column and headline are unfair. GAO performed an actual audit study of this waiver program, finding that it operates as the administration stated it did, granting or refusing waivers based on objective and explicit criteria. One can agree or disagree with this waiver program. I myself find the waivers a distasteful short-term compromise to prevent large immediate rate hikes in plans that offer poor coverage.
Still, I think the process has been conducted with integrity under difficult political and administrative circumstances. It’s not right to imply otherwise. But don’t take my word for it. Read Roy’s and Suderman’s columns and then the GAO report, and you decide.