Since the passage of ObamaCare, businesses have started speaking out on how hard they will be hit by the costs associated with implementing the healthcare “reform” plan. As a result of them daring to alert their employees – and the public – as to what they can expect in the coming months due to the passage of this trillion dollar bill, House Democrats plan to punish these companies via a hearing to take place next month:
It’s been a banner week for Democrats: ObamaCare passed Congress in its final form on Thursday night, and the returns are already rolling in. Yesterday AT&T announced that it will be forced to make a $1 billion writedown due solely to the health bill, in what has become a wave of such corporate losses.
This wholesale destruction of wealth and capital came with more than ample warning. Turning over every couch cushion to make their new entitlement look affordable under Beltway accounting rules, Democrats decided to raise taxes on companies that do the public service of offering prescription drug benefits to their retirees instead of dumping them into Medicare. We and others warned this would lead to AT&T-like results, but like so many other ObamaCare objections Democrats waved them off as self-serving or “political.”
Perhaps that explains why the Administration is now so touchy. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took to the White House blog to write that while ObamaCare is great for business, “In the last few days, though, we have seen a couple of companies imply that reform will raise costs for them.” In a Thursday interview on CNBC, Mr. Locke said “for them to come out, I think is premature and irresponsible.”
Meanwhile, Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”
In other words, shoot the messenger. Black-letter financial accounting rules require that corporations immediately restate their earnings to reflect the present value of their long-term health liabilities, including a higher tax burden. Should these companies have played chicken with the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid this politically inconvenient reality? Democrats don’t like what their bill is doing in the real world, so they now want to intimidate CEOs into keeping quiet.
Yep. Byron York has more (via ST reader Mwalimu Daudi):
Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has summoned some of the nation’s top executives to Capitol Hill to defend their assessment that the new national health care reform law will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance expenses. Waxman is also demanding that the executives give lawmakers internal company documents related to health care finances — a move one committee Republican describes as “an attempt to intimidate and silence opponents of the Democrats’ flawed health care reform legislation.”
So Waxman has ordered the executives to explain themselves at an April 21 hearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigative subcommittee. That subcommittee just happens to be chaired by Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who held out his vote on health care reform until a few hours before final passage on March 21, giving the bill’s opponents the unfounded hope that he might vote against it.
Waxman’s demands came Friday in letters to several executives. “After the president signed the health care reform bill into law, your company announced that provisions in the law could adversely affect your ability to provide health insurance,” Waxman wrote to Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T. A few hours before Waxman sent his letter, AT&T announced it will take a $1 billion charge against earnings because of the tax provision in the new health bill. AT&T also said it will be “evaluating prospective changes” to its health care benefits for all workers.
Waxman’s request could prove particularly troubling for the companies. The executives will undoubtedly view such documents as confidential, but if they fail to give Waxman everything he wants, they run the risk of subpoenas and threats from the chairman. And all as punishment for making a business decision in light of a new tax situation.
And for anyone out there naive enough to believe that the Democrats are doing this in an honest at finding out whether or not they should amend ObamaCare in any way so as not to adversely affect businesses, think again. The hearings, as Jim Hoft suggests, will be nothing more than show trials much in the same way the much-hailed ObamaCare “Summit” was nothing more than a vain, farcical, empty attempt by our celebrity President and Democrat party “leaders” to try and convince the American people that they truly were interested in GOP ideas and wanted to act in a “bipartisan fashion.”
The hearings will be used in an attempt to embarass the companies in question by trying to make them look “selfish” for noting what implementing ObamaCare will do to their bottom line and furthermore, you can bank on “lawmakers” implying or outright suggesting that the assertions by some companies that they will have to pass the rising costs on to the employee are “immoral” and “unconscionable.” Much like ObamaCare, the hearings will be a waste of taxpayer time and money. Why? Because their sole purpose will be to show that Democrats are “right” on this issue and to hell with the facts and to hell with the impact on both the little man and the big man.
Last word from Jim Hoft:
These democrats in Washington are nothing but thugs. They’ll try anything to keep the truth from coming out about their disastrous legislation.
Yep – bbbut it’s “for your own good” even though you don’t realize it yet, so …