Free Markets, Free People

The ObamaCare fallout continues

You remember when AT&T and other companies immediately took write downs against profit soon after the ObamaCare legislation was signed into law?

Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak reacted immediately calling for a Congressional hearing so the CEOs of some of these companies could be called on the carpet for trying to show up this fabulous law.  Waxman whined that wasn’t its intent.  And then, mysteriously, a week or so later, they quietly canceled the hearings.

In a memorandum summarizing its investigation, the Democratic staff of the committee said, “The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the S.E.C. in March and April.”

Moreover, it said, “these one-time charges were required by applicable accounting rules.” The committee staff said this view was confirmed by independent experts at the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the American Academy of Actuaries.

Oops.  Waxman and Stupak tried to recover a little by  saying:

“Companies like AT&T, Verizon and a range of stakeholder associations are hopeful that the benefits of the new law will outweigh the costs,” Mr. Waxman and Mr. Stupak said in a memorandum to committee members. “But they cannot quantify the benefits until the law is implemented.”

Well, apparently they’ve found some more of those “benefits” in the law:

AT&T, which took a $995 million charge to reflect the impact of the health care overhaul, said it would be “evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health care benefits offered by the company.”

Under another provision, employers may be subject to financial penalties if they do not offer health insurance to employees. Documents provided to Congress by AT&T indicate that its medical costs in 2009 were $4.7 billion, divided about equally between active employees and retirees — far more than it would pay in penalties if it did not provide coverage.

Verizon said it was taking a $970 million charge against earnings because of the change in tax treatment of a subsidy it receives for retiree drug coverage. In addition, Verizon said it could be affected by a new tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018.

“Many of the plans that Verizon offers to employees and retirees are projected to have costs above the thresholds in the legislation and will be subject to the 40 percent excise tax,” the company told employees.

So obviously, in the case of AT&T (and many other companies) they’re going to be called into Congressional hearings for breaking Obama’s “if you like your doctor and you like your plan, you can keep it” promise, right?  I mean, those are the “benefits” the employees of AT&T and Verizon seem likely to “enjoy” when the law is implemented.

In a general analysis of the new law, Verizon said, “To avoid additional costs and regulations, employers may consider exiting the employer health market and send employees” to state-run insurance exchanges, where people can buy insurance.

A Caterpillar executive made a similar point in an e-mail message to colleagues, saying the tax changes could “drive many employers to just drop coverage for retirees altogether, and let the government foot the whole bill.”

I’d like to write this off to the law of unintended consequences, but that would be pure nonsense.  Not only was this known as a probable outcome, but Democrats lied through their teeth when they denied it. It was and is completely intended. It is the companies, however, that will be demonized for doing precisely what Democrats hoped they’d do (or, one assumes, the penalty for not supplying health care would have been much higher and any tax on Cadillac plans much lower).  Single payer, here we come.

And you wonder why they kept it hidden so no one could read it until after it passed?



14 Responses to The ObamaCare fallout continues

  • One wonders if Henry Waxman is grousing about how government-imposed regulations got in the way of his hearings.

  • We’re going to build a machine, we won’t know EXACTLY what it does, until we’ve built and turned it on.
    We’re making a product, we’ll know what it’s good for after we’ve made it and sold a couple thousand units.
    We’re building a house, we’ll know what it looks like when we get it done.
    Would you finance ANY of the above things with any significant expectation of successful outcome?
    We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.
    How pathetic have we become.
    Now, im

  • I wonder if a lot of Democrats and leftists will be looking up the definition of “Pyrrhic victory” sometime in the next couple of years.

    • I’m hoping for something much more like Teutoberger Wald instead of Asculum.  At the end of this I want Obama Augustus wandering the darkened halls of the White House crying “Pelosi, Reid,  give me back my majority!”

  • It might take decades to crawl out from under this mess.

  • You  know, I read a post like this…Jeez…and I reflect on it and try to reason out why things like this are happening.  Perhaps I am not alone.  I mean, this stuff is important!  People will live and die.  This is not some Code Pink ninny making of fool of herself.
    Don’t look to find the answer from an urban liberal.  I’ve tried.  They seem to listen, but then I get the “big, sorrowful eyes” and their response is something like:  “Don’t you want the poor to have good health insurance?”
    After ruminating over this and other similar responses, I have come up with what I believe to be the problem.
    Say there is a young urban liberal female in the parking lot of the shopping center.  She is very bright and has worked very hard to learn the important things in life.  For instance, she has just purchased a pair of Vercace sunglasses for less than $50.00.  As she was approaching her Prius (which she purchased because Consumer Reports recommended it) she clicked her key clicker to unlock the door (she knew to have it open so that she could enter the car quickly and relock the door.  No fool she.
    However, the battery in her key was dead and the door did not open.  She was perplexed.  Then she saw her neighbor just getting into his car and waved him over.  When he arrived, she explained the dead battery and asked him to give her a lift to the nearby battery store so she could get into her car.
    Much like the young lady, today’s urban liberals don’t know how things really work.  Who knows how Blackberries work?  Who cares, they work.  So, it is no leap to trust Congress to design a healthcare plan that “works”.  Hey, if they can make TVs, laptops, etc. work like they do – and the internet – what is the big deal about healthcare?  It is just those ignorant rubes who live in the country still hung up on their guns and bibles who are making trouble.  Wise, Harvard-educated President Obama and his Ivy League crew know what they are doing (Hey, read the NYT, they explain everything) and everything is going to be fine.  Want to go for a latte before our tanning session?

    • Its called signalling. By approving of Obamacare, I can show the world I personally am a good person, who cares about poor people (even if I never do anything to help them personally, except vote in Democrats>) Voting is also a ‘free’ way to do this as your individual vote really has no weight. These are all psychological benefits these people get, so its hard to use logic to defeat them.

  • The worst over-the-top diatribes disparaging “The Anointed One” that I heard bloggers assert during the coronation now sound trite.
    It’s a good thing our “Media-Lapdog-Eyes-Wide-Shut-Blitzkrieg” was so on the ball in vetting our first Marxist pRESIDENT.
    After nine months of bald-faced lies, Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose admit they snookered the nation. -1 November 2008
    And now we’re supposed to trust any of them after that?

  • McQSo obviously, in the case of AT&T (and many other companies) they’re going to be called into Congressional hearings for breaking Obama’s “if you like your doctor and you like your plan, you can keep it” promise, right?

    Yes.  This has been a favorite play in Imeme’s book: f*ck things up, then blame somebody else for the problem.  If those greedy capitalists deny health insurance to their employees – in other words, if they deny this basic human right to their employees – then THEY will be responsible and must be held accountable.  As a bonus, all those people losing their health benefits will also be another crisis that Imeme and his band of idiots and thugs will have to fix RIGHT NOW… which will create another crisis requiring still more government intervention until we’ve got a nice little dictatorship.  It’s no surprise, though, as it’s been standard practice for tinplated despots throughout history.

    kyle8It might take decades to crawl out from under this mess.

    That’s a key feature of the dems’ plan: they are creating a system the can’t be undone.

    The sad fact is that we’ve crawled out of messes like this before.  Oh, not quite so bad, but we had a pile of debt after independence, and a pile of debt (and rubble) after the Civil War.  I think that the problem today isn’t the problem of debt or big government per se, but rather a problem of attitude: there are too many people who like living the life of a deadbeat, and too many others who, from a misguided sense of charity and decency, are willing to let them.