Now that the bill is law, major companies are informing their shareholders and the SEC of the impact on them. AT&T hit the headlines with the announcement that:
AT&T Inc. will take a $1 billion non-cash accounting charge in the first quarter because of the health care overhaul and may cut benefits it offers to current and retired workers.
The Democrat’s didn’t want to hear that. Powerline reports on their reaction:
hundreds[of companies] like them will follow [AT&T] as Obamacare becomes a reality. Congressional Democrats, evidently stung by the bad publicity, are trying to strike back. A reader writes:
Good post on the true cost of ObamaCare. But it gets better: the Dems are now shaking down CEOs who don’t get with the program. In the attached letter, Henry Waxman not only orders the CEOs of AT&T, Caterpillar, Deere & Co, and Verizon to testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee, but also to produce internal analyses and emails related to their statements. They don’t expressly subpoena the CEOs, so we can hope that they tell the Dems to GFY, though somehow I doubt that will happen.
The Dems sent these letters to the Republicans on the committee after 6pm tonight with no advance notice or prior cooperation.
Waxman’s letter reads in part:
“The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern,” said a letter from Waxman and co-chair Bart Stupak inviting executives such as AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson to testify.
“They also appear to conflict with independent analyses. The Congressional Budget Office has reported that companies that insure more than 50 employees would see a decrease of up to 3% in average premium costs per person by 2016. The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers from leading U.S. companies, asserted in November 2009 that health care reform could reduce predicted health insurance cost trends for businesses by more than $3,000 per employee over the next 10 years,”
After seeing what the Obama administration did to the auto industry, the finance industry and anyone who got in their way, most companies stayed quiet during the debate on Obamacare. But now they have to deal with law as rammed through by Congress. Waxman is even stupider than I thought, if he believed that the CBO figures had any relation to reality. The Democrats are going to reap what they have sown – a constant stream of bad news about the impact of Obamacare.
Businessweek provides more information on why AT&T’s cost are going up:
AT&T previously received a tax-free benefit from the government to subsidize health-care costs for retirees, who would otherwise be on a Medicare Part D plan. Under the new bill, AT&T will no longer be able to deduct that subsidy.
“As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health-care benefits offered by the company,” the carrier said in the filing.
AT&T is heavily unionized. If AT&T is forced to cut benefits, and attributes the cuts to Obamacare, then a lot of union members are going to be very unhappy with the Democrats. That’s good news for the 60% of Americans opposed to Obamacare.