Free Market Fundamentalist Opinion

The Price of Obamacare

Surprise, surprise, health-care reform is going to cost corporate America dearly. The Wall Street Journal reports that telephone giant AT&T is among the first businesses to announce multimillion dollar writedowns solely due to the health bill.

“The corporate damage rolls in, and Democrats are shocked!” writes the paper. To make health-care reform appear financially responsible, the administration raised taxes on companies that offer prescription drug benefits to retirees rather than dumping them into Medicare. It’s not just AT&T that has to shoulder the burden. Deere & Co., Caterpiller, AK Steel, 3M, Valero Energy — many businesses have announced in recent days that Obamacare is going to cost them millions and more are expected to join them soon.

The Journal as well as various corporations warned that this would happen but such objections were waved off by Democrats as either “self-serving” or “political”. Just last Thursday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke described the companies’ complaints as both “premature and irresponsible.”

Congressman Henry Waxman of California proposes to haul in these companies for hearings because their judgement, he said, “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.” Apparently, such “independent analyses” know the balance sheets of the aforementioned businesses better than they do. As The Wall Street Journal puts it, “Democrats don’t like what their bill is doing in the real world, so they now want to intimidate CEOs into keeping quiet.”