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Health care law waivers stir suspicion of favors

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Call it the Department of Waivers and Adjustments. It's doing a brisk business with the new health care law.

President Barack Obama's administration has granted nearly 1,400 waivers easing requirements of the new health care law, and some critics on the right say Obama is giving his political allies a pass from burdensome requirements everyone else will have to live with.

But what if the waivers work more like a safety valve? What if during the transition to a new system they can prevent unintended consequences — such as people with bare-bones insurance losing their current coverage, or insurers closing shop in a particular state?

Here are some questions and answers on waivers, an issue that's heating up on Internet forums and has prompted inquiries and hearings by congressional Republicans.

Q: Unions are getting these waivers. Doesn't that show that the Obama administration is rewarding political supporters?

A: Several unions have gotten waivers, but most seem to be going to employer plans, according to statistics from the Health and Human Services Department.


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