Silence! Dems Trying to Bully Employers on ObamaCare’s Job-Killing Impact

Ohio’s 8th Congressional District Blog

Posted by Press Office on March 30, 2010

Washington Democrats want the nation’s employers to think twice about alerting their workers, customers, shareholders, and the public at large to the financial impact of President Obama’s new health care law, whether it’s AT&T ($1 billion), Deere & Co. ($150 million), Caterpillar ($100 million), 3M ($90 million), AK Steel ($31 milllion), and Valero Energy (up to $20 million.)

The White House blog has been used to question the credibility of these statements. A Cabinet secretary called these public disclosures “irresponsible.” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wants to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. These scare tactics are not surprising. Last fall, the Obama Administration issued a gag order designed to keep seniors in the dark about ObamaCare’s massive Medicare cuts.

America’s workers have a right to know how this new law will affect them. As do the millions of retirees who may lose their drug benefits. As do the customers who may have to pay higher prices to cover these losses. As do the small businesses who rely on these companies for telecommunications (AT&T), office supplies (3M), gasoline (Valero), and equipment (Caterpillar, John Deere)? These are the very valid questions House Republicans are discussing with their constituents this week while Democrats are attacking companies having a hard enough time trying to survive this recession without Washington getting in the way.

Writing in U.S. News & World Report’s Thomas Jefferson Street blog, Peter Roff discusses Republicans’ efforts to focus on the consequences of Obamacare on the U.S. economy:

“House Minority Leader John Boehner is urging his Republican colleagues to keep their focus on the need to create jobs–even as they talk about the just-passed healthcare law while meeting with constituents over the Easter break. In a memo, Boehner–who says President Barack Obama ‘abandoned our founding principle that government governs best when it governs closest to the people’– outlines a program for job creation that he says members of the GOP should talk up as they attempt to establish a meaningful contrast with the Democratic majority in Congress.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial highlights Washington Democrats’ “touchy” response to warnings from the nation’s job creators:

“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.”

Rank-and-file Democrats trying to sell ObamaCare back home this week are playing defense on a number of claims Obama Administration made to force this job-killing bill through Congress:

CLAIM: President Obama: “This legislation will also lower costs for families and for businesses…And it will help lift a decades-long drag on our economy.” (Remarks, 3/23/10)

TRUTH: In the days after President Obama signed the new health care law, America’s employers began warning shareholders and employees about higher health care costs that would result. 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. Similar announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks. According to CNN, “Health care law brings big cost for big companies. It hasn’t even been a week since President Obama signed sweeping health care legislation, but several companies already have warned shareholders they expect to take a hit. … ‘Having an additional cost like this is not great timing,’ Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said.”

CLAIM: “With a fresh sense of urgency, President Barack Obama sought to reassure seniors Monday about health care legislation approaching a final vote in Congress…” (Associated Press, 3/15/10)

TRUTH: “As many as 1.5 million to 2 million retirees could lose the drug benefits provided by their former employer because of the tax changes, according to a study by the Moran Company, a health care consulting firm.” (Associated Press, 3/25/10) “Yet companies that still offer retiree drug benefits, mostly older industrial concerns or those with unionized employees, say the end of the deduction could force them to change their benefit plans. In other words, they might curtail or even cancel them.” (Los Angeles Times, 3/27/10)

CLAIM: “President Obama says small businesses will be big winners under health care reform… (Fox News, 3/23/10)

TRUTH: “Health care overhaul scares small businesses in Alabama. The federal government’s health care overhaul has touched off a pandemic of fear, anger and confusion that has already spread among Alabama businesses.” (The Birmingham News, 3/28/10) “Many small business owners and their trade groups fear the fallout could cost more money, reduce hiring and delay the economic recovery that is now underway.” (Greenville (SC) News, 3/28/10)

CLAIM: Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform: “The president’s plan represents an important step toward long-term fiscal sustainability…” (Washington Post op-ed, 3/18/10)

TRUTH: “With health bill, Obama has sown the seeds of a budget crisis. Should the United States someday suffer a budget crisis, it will be hard not to conclude that Obama and his allies sowed the seeds, because they ignored conspicuous warnings. On March 15, Moody’s Investors Service — the bond rating agency — published a paper warning that the exploding U.S. government debt could cause a downgrade of Treasury bonds. Just six days later, the House of Representatives passed President Obama’s health-care legislation costing $900 billion or so over a decade and worsening an already-bleak budget outlook.” (Robert Samuelson, Washington Post op-ed, 3/29/10)

CLAIM: “President Barack Obama’s pollster said the healthcare bill will win over public support once it becomes law despite polls showing Americans against the plan.” (The Hill, 3/13/10)

TRUTH: “Overall, 46 percent of those polled said they support the changes in the new law; 50 percent oppose them. That is virtually identical to the pre-vote split on the proposals and similar to the divide that has existed since last summer… More people see the changes as making things worse, rather than better, for the country’s health-care system, for the quality of their care and, among the insured, for their coverage. Majorities in the new poll also see the changes as resulting in higher costs for themselves and for the country. … More than six in 10 of those 65 or older see a weaker Medicare system as a result of the changes to the health-care system.” (The Washington Post, 3/28/10)

CLAIM: “Democrats Stress Immediate Effects Of Health Bill.” (NPR, 3/17/10)

TRUTH: “Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print. Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies are already arguing that, at least for now, they do not have to provide one of the benefits that the president calls a centerpiece of the law: coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions. ‘If you have a sick kid, the individual insurance market will continue to be a scary place,’ said Karen L. Pollitz, a research professor at the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University. Experts at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners share that concern.” (The New York Times, 3/29/10)

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Categories: America, Democrats, Health, Jobs, Lives, money, people, politics, taxes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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