Of course HHS is not ending the waiver program, they just won’t announce them in the future. Didn’t Obama promise the most “open and transparent” administration in history?

(The Hill) — Roughly 1,200 companies received waivers from part of the healthcare reform law, the Health and Human Services Department said Friday.

Friday marks the last time HHS will have to update the total number of waivers, putting to rest a recurring political firestorm. The department had been updating its waiver totals every month, prompting monthly attacks from the GOP.

Republicans say the need for waivers proves that the healthcare law is unworkable. HHS argues that the waivers show the law provides flexibility.

All told, 1,231 companies applied for and received waivers from the law’s restrictions on annual benefit caps. The law requires plans to gradually raise their benefit limits, and all annual limits will become illegal in 2014. Companies that received waivers can keep their caps intact until 2014.

Faced with the monthly cycles of GOP criticism, HHS announced last summer that it would stop accepting applications for one-year waivers and would simply grant or deny waivers all the way through the end of 2013.

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