I’m posting this to add to Steve’s post on McDonald’s and what Obamacare is doing to them and others. This is what happens when unelected bureaucrats are put in charge of what should be a private or public business and not a government operation. Just try to think of just one government run company that isn’t broke and being subsidized by the government.

White House Pledges Flexibility On McDonald’s Health Plan

The Obama administration said Thursday that its top health official will “exercise her discretion” in enforcing a new health-law requirement, a move that could help McDonald’s Corp. and other employers from disrupting their health-care policies for hourly workers.

The announcement Thursday followed a report in The Wall Street Journal that McDonald’s warned federal regulators it could drop its health-insurance plan for nearly 30,000 restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the health overhaul. The requirement, known as the minimum medical loss ratio, concerns the percentage of revenue received from premiums that must be spent on benefits.

McDonald’s is among the retailers and restaurant chains that offer a “mini-med” limited benefit. Most of these plans don’t meet a 2011 requirement that they spend 80% to 85% of premiums on medical benefits instead of overhead expenses.

McDonald’s last week sent a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services a memo saying “it would be economically prohibitive for our carrier to continue offering” its “mini-med” limited benefit plan unless it got an exemption from the requirement.

On Thursday, administration officials indicated they are hopeful that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be able to allow certain waivers to the requirement, but that it was too early to confirm they will. She must wait for guidance from state insurance commissioners, and the administration doesn’t expect to release the agency’s final guidance until December. The agency said the law (Obamacare) gives Ms. Sebelius discretion to apply the requirement. (Like I said, she is an unelected bureaucrat answerable to no one except the President)

“We fully intend to exercise her discretion under the new law to address the special circumstances of mini-med plans in the medical loss ratio calculations,” said Jay Angoff, a director at the Department of Health and Human Services. “We intend to address these and other special circumstances in forthcoming regulations.”

Rich Floersch, McDonald’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, said: “We’re encouraged by this announcement. It would benefit McDonald’s employees in our restaurants, as well as many businesses and institutions that are dealing with” the requirement.

White House officials said they have sought to ensure that insurance coverage for employees isn’t disrupted as a result of the law. Already federal regulators have approved dozens of waiver requests—including one from McDonald’s—that their insurers be relieved from having to meet a new $750,000 minimum cap on annual benefit payouts. Employers said the cap endangered mini-med plans.

A potential medical-loss ratio waiver could provide relief to dozens of low-wage employers. Aetna Inc., one of the largest sellers of mini-med plans, provides the plans to Home Depot Inc., Disney Worldwide Services, CVS Caremark Corp., Staples Inc. and Blockbuster Inc., among others, according to an Aetna client list reviewed by the Journal. Aetna also covers AmeriCorps teaching-program sponsors, who are required by law to make health coverage available. An estimated 1.4 million Americans are on plans that could be affected by the requirement, according to an industry source.

In its memo to HHS last week, McDonald’s said: “Having to drop our current mini-med offering would represent a huge disruption to our 29,500 participants. It would deny our people this current benefit that positively impacts their lives and protects their health—and would leave many without an affordable, comparably designed alternative until 2014.”

Earlier on Thursday, McDonald’s issued a statement calling media reports about its health-care coverage “speculative and misleading.”

Jack Daly, senior vice president of corporate relations and chief communications officer, said in an interview Thursday, “We’re not denying your story,” referring to the article in the Journal. He said the company took issue with subsequent media reports that implied McDonald’s was entirely eliminating health-care coverage for workers. He said the chain remains “committed to providing health care to our 30,000 employees.” (What McDonald’s forgot to tell us is that they will continue that commitment as long as the ‘government’ allows them to…..that’s one more thing wrong with government run mandated health care.)

Wall Street Journal