McClatchy Newspapers, June 23, 2011

Republicans waged a sharply worded attack Wednesday on the Obama administration's efforts to relax some of the new health care rules that affect businesses, unions and states. Their rhetoric at a midmorning outdoor news conference became as overheated as the weather, leaving little doubt that Republicans intend to use the health care law as a punching bag in the 2012 elections, much as they did in 2010. The House of Representatives Republicans who attended the steamy session objected to the policy of granting waivers to the law. The waivers permit employee health insurance providers to temporarily deflect the new higher minimum spending limits on medical expenses to avoid hurting consumers. Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas called the waivers "sweetheart carve-outs" for "well-heeled fat cats." Her Kansas GOP colleague, Rep. Mike Pompeo, charged that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a former Democratic governor of Kansas, was practicing "Chicago-style politics" by granting waivers to politically friendly unions and businesses.

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