Friday, November 12, 2010

Regulations and Arbitrary Rule

Last month, federal officials granted dozens of one-year waivers that were aimed at sparing certain employers, including McDonald’s, insurers and unions who offer plans that sharply limit the coverage they provide...

Concerned about the potential disruption that would be created by enforcing the new rules, the administration has granted dozens of additional waivers and also made clear that it would modify other rules affecting these policies. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued more guidance, saying it would use a different method of calculating spending for these plans so they would be able to meet new regulations dictating how insurers should use the premium dollars they collect. NYT 11/9/10
This is what was meant when Speaker Pelosi infamously informed us "We have to pass the bill so we can see what is in it." So many details have been left up to regulatory rule making, even if Congressmen had read the bill, there would be no way to know its actual meaning. Far too much was left up to the discretion of yet-to-be-created agencies, and the Secretary of HHS.

And that is the way it has to be. It is the nature of central planning.

Command and control economic planning can not function through legislating. Legislative reaction time is too slow and the decision making process to cumbersome and contentious. The only way to allow for the necessary responsiveness and flexibilit is to delegate a significant portion of the decision making power to regulatory agencies. The broader the regulatory mandate, the more the decisions become sway to special interests and the arbitrary whims of the regulators and rule-makers.

One of the first casualties of regulation is Rule by Law--which is replaced with Rule by Men. The second casualty is usually Equality Before the Law--which is replaced with Rule by Special Favor. This is the nature of central planning, and of the regulatory behemoth which it spawns. Everybody has to follow the rules...except those who Sebelius decides to let off the hook.

Special waivers are now up to 111.

UpDate: Here is the current waiver list.

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