Pelosi's millionaire Friends Get Obamacare Waivers
Nearly 20 percent of new Obamacare waivers are gourmet restaurants,
nightclubs, fancy hotels in Nancy Pelosi's district
By Matthew Boyle - The Daily Caller 12:07 AM 05/17/2011
Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama's administration
approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent
hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's Northern California district.
That's in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies
and the 31 new union waivers Obama's Department of Health and Human Services
Pelosi's district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of
waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn't have much in
common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received
Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large
corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi's district's
waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and
hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.
For instance, Boboquivari's restaurant in Pelosi's district in San Francisco
got a waiver from Obamacare. Boboquivari's advertises $59 porterhouse
steaks, $39 filet mignons and $35 crab dinners.
Then, there's Café des Amis, which describes its eating experience as "a
timeless Parisian style brasserie" which is "located on one of San Francisco's
premier shopping and strolling boulevards, Union Street," according to the
restaurant's Web site.
"Bacchus Management Group, in partnership with Perry Butler, is bringing you
that same warm, inviting feeling, with a distinctive San Francisco spin,"
the Web site reads. Somehow, though, the San Francisco upper class eatery
earned itself a waiver from Obamacare because it apparently cost them too
much to meet the law's first year requirements.
The reason the Obama administration says it has given out waivers is to
exempt certain companies or policyholders from "annual limit requirements."
The applications for the waivers are "reviewed on a case by case basis by
department officials who look at a series of factors including whether or
not a premium increase is large or if a significant number of enrollees
would lose access to their current plan because the coverage would not be
offered in the absence of a waiver." The waivers don't allow a company to
permanently refrain from implementing Obamacare's stipulations, but
companies can reapply for waivers annually through 2014.
Café Mason, a diner near San Francisco's Union Square, got a waiver too.
When The Daily Caller asked the manager about the waiver and how the
president's new sweeping federal health care law was affecting his
restaurant, he hung up the phone. The Franciscan Crab restaurant on
Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco got a waiver. Its menu features entrees
ranging from about $15 to $60. The Franciscan's general manager didn't
return TheDC's requests for comment.
Four-star hotel Campton Place got one too, as did Hotel Nikko San Francisco,
which describes itself as "four-diamond luxury in the heart of the city."
Tru Spa, which Allure Magazine rated the "best day spa in San Francisco,"
received an Obamacare waiver as well.
Before hanging up on TheDC, Tru Spa's owner said new government health care
regulations, both the federal-level Obamacare and new local laws in Northern
California, have "devastated" the business. "It's been bad for us," he said,
without divulging his name, referring to the new health care restrictions.
But, the spa owner wouldn't talk about it or the reason his company sought a
waiver. He hung up after saying, "I've got clients on the other line,
San Francisco Honda, which has two of its three locations in Pelosi's
district, and San Francisco's Royal Motors Group both got waivers too.
Neither called TheDC back.
Blue & Gold Fleet, which describes itself as "the Bay Area's premier
provider of Bay Cruise, Ferry Service and Motorcoach Tours," got an
Obamacare waiver approved in April. The tour service company didn't return
TheDC's requests for comment.
Nightclub Infusion Lounge got an Obamacare waiver approved in April too.
Infusion Lounge calls itself a "sophisticated nightlife destination" with
"Asian inspired sub-rosa lounge, fashioned by Hong Kong's hottest designer,
Kinney Chan," which makes for a "true ultra lounge catering to both dancing
hipsters and young professionals looking to relax in style." Infusion Lounge's
owners didn't return TheDC's requests for comment either.
Simco Restaurants and several other affiliated chains based in the area got
waivers for their businesses as well. For example, Gordon Yoshida, the
manager of memorabilia store Only in San Francisco, told TheDC that Sandra
Fletcher of Simco walked him through the process of getting an Obamacare
waiver. Fletcher did not return TheDC's requests for comment.
Pelosi's office did not respond to TheDC's requests for comment either.
Don't worry Your grandchildren get something too. THE BILL