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Obama administration to stop new waivers for healthcare overhaul

The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2011

The Obama administration on Friday said it would stop granting new waivers to the healthcare overhaul in September following sharp opposition from Republicans who cited the waivers in their bid to undermine the law. As of the end of May, the administration had granted 1,433 waivers to a part of the 2010 law that prevents employers and other health-plan providers from capping annual benefit payouts below $750,000 a year. Those entities, and any others that secure a waiver by Sept. 22, will be able to keep their one-year waivers, and apply for extensions through 2013. But the Department of Health and Human Services said it would stop accepting new applications for the program after Sept. 22. The waivers largely went to low-wage employers who offer "mini-med" plans with limited benefits, including McDonald's Corp. and the Foot Locker Inc. athletic chain.