REI CEO Sally Jewell, President Obama’s nominee for Interior Secretary, received an Obamacare waiver in 2011 for her company’s health care coverage for 1,180 employees.
The controversial waivers were issued to select companies after Obama’s health care reform bill passed in 2008, temporarily excusing them from the Obamacare health insurance mandates.
As Michelle Malkin noted in her May 2011 column, Jewell participated in an Obama administration roundtable in 2009 to talk about the benefits of health care reform.
After the roundtable meeting, President Obama praised the REI health plan for covering both part-time and full-time employees.
“Every single employee is covered, but part of the reason they’re able to do it is because they put a big emphasis on prevention and wellness,” Obama explained during his remarks.
The plan reportedly reduces employee health care payments if they adopt “healthful habits, such as regularly eating fruits and vegetables and exercising.”
REI's Senior Public Affairs Associate Bethany Hawley explained to the Washington Examiner that that the waiver requested by REI allows the company to continue offering a health insurance plan to their part-time employees.
"REI filed for a voluntary waiver specifically for our mini-med plan, which covers part-time employees who work lower than 20 hours, and temporary and seasonal staff," Hawley emailed in response. "The waiver allows us to continue to cover these employees without disrupting their access to health care benefits until 2014, which is when plans with annual limits can no longer be offered."