Congressman Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, and Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak called on CEO’s of AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Deere & Co., and Caterpillar Inc. to give proof that the businesses’ claims that under the new health care act the companies would lose millions if not billions of dollars. Under the new health care act, businesses will lose a tax deduction on tax-free government subsidies they always had when they give retirees a Medicare Part D prescription-drug reimbursement. This retiree tax deduction for businesses was previously established by the last Bush administration.
Mr. Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and subcommittee Chairman Stupak released letters they wrote to the executives, saying their plans to record expenses against earnings as a result of the law contradict other estimates. The lawmakers requested the executives appear at hearing Stupak plans on April 21, Businessweek reported.
“The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern. They also appear to conflict with independent analyses,” wrote Mr. Waxman and Mr. Stupak in their letters.
The American Spectator’s Prowler has an anonymous source claiming to be a lobbyist for a CEO who sat down with President Obama and said his employer was “embarrassed” for the president for not knowing what was in the bill:
“Most of these people [in the Administration] have never had a real job in their lives. They don’t understand a thing about business, and that includes the President,” says a senior lobbyist for one of the companies that announced the charge. “My CEO sat with the President over lunch with two other CEOs, and each of them tried to explain to the President what this bill would do to our companies and the economy in general. First the President didn’t understand what they were talking about. Then he basically told my boss he was lying. Frankly my boss was embarrassed for him; he clearly had not been briefed and didn’t know what was in the bill.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, did not waste anytime in calling out Mr. Waxman for wanting to intimidate and interrogate American employers today:
“Throughout the past year, American employers have warned that the health care policies being promoted by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Washington will hurt our economy and make it more difficult to create jobs. Yet now that those policies have become law over the objections of the American people, Congressional Democrats such as Chairman Waxman profess shock and surprise at hearing American employers announce that they will have no choice but to make painful changes to comply with it. The new health care law is a job-killer, and we are already seeing the negative impact it is having on our economy.
“Just as important, the law’s new cost increases and mandates are forcing employers to consider dropping health coverage for their employees and retirees altogether, which would force even more Americans into the unsustainable Medicare and Medicaid systems. Instead of interrogating America’s private sector job creators, Congress should be listening to them, heeding their warnings about the effects of this deeply flawed new law, and replacing it with reforms that will help them get back to creating jobs.”
AT&T announced it would bear $1 billion in higher costs, Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million.
Other companies are expected to announce financial hits they are taking in the coming days and weeks ahead, but when powerful government interests from the White House to Congress attack the private sector for simply being the messenger, it appears the motives can only be to make any other company that could be suffering under the new health care law to shut - up.