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Monday, March 29, 2010
Obamacare: Public sector grabs $14B from private sector employers
By Heritage Foundation @ 11:50 AM :: 3994 Views :: National News, Ethics

Our Long National Obamacare Nightmare is Just Beginning

If you are tired of our nation's year-long health care debate and you were hoping that the passage of President Barack Obama's health care bill would settle anything, then Politico has some bad news for you: the real fight is just getting started. Starting today, a coalition of leftist groups will sink millions of dollars into television advertising and astroturf events selling the plan to the American people. But as a Washington Post poll conducted after passage last week shows, the Obama administration and their leftist allies face a steep climb.

The top line numbers are bad but not daunting for the pro-Obamacare forces: 50% of Americans oppose the changes in the new law while 46% support them. But the numbers also show that most Americans believe the new law will cause "the overall health care system in this country" to get worse, "the quality of the health care you receive" to get worse, and "your health insurance coverage" to get worse. The poll also shows that most Americans believe the law will weaken Medicare and that there is "too much government involvement in the nation's health care system." And strong majorities of Americans believe Obamacare will increase the federal budget deficit (65%), increase "your health care costs" (55%), and increase "overall costs of health care in this country" (60%). The American people are right on all counts. And if the events of last week are any indication, these beliefs will only harden over time.

Pitching his failed stimulus plan back in February of last year, President Obama told a factory in East Peoria, Illinois, "So what's happening at this company tells us a larger story about what's happening with our nation's economy, because, in many ways, you can measure America's bottom line by looking at Caterpillar's bottom line."  Well, Caterpillar was quick to inform the markets exactly what Obamacare meant for its bottom line. Caterpillar announced that Obamacare would raise its insurance costs by at least 20 percent - or more than $100 million - just in the first year of the health-care overhaul program. And Caterpillar was not alone. Other Fortune 500 firms quickly followed suit announcing Obamacare hits to their bottom line including: Deere & Co., $150 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; Valero Energy, $20 million; and AT&T, $1 billion. The consulting firm Towers Watson tells the Wall Street Journal that the total hit this year will reach nearly $14 billion. America's employers simply can't sustain losses like these, so many of these companies, including Verizon, have informed their employees to expect significant changes to their current health care benefits.

The leftist majorities in Congress were incensed that America's employers would dare warn their investors about the costs of Obamacare at the same time as the Obama administration's national sales pitch was set to begin. So using the full force of the federal government to bully and harass America's job creators, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent letters to the CEOs of Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon, and AT&T demanding all documents "from January 1, 2009, through the present" regarding "any analyses related to the projected impact of health care reform" and "any documents, including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the projected impact of health care reform." Waxman intends to haul these CEOs in front of the Subcommitte on Oversight and Investigations, which just happens to be chaired by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), for a hearing April 21st.

While it is unfortunate that the left in Congress believes our nation's business leaders' time is best spent being browbeaten by congressmen for not doing more to support their policy preferences, the American public should look forward to these hearings. The more information the American public is given about Obamacare, the more they will oppose it. The more they oppose it, the easier it will be to repeal it. We have a long road ahead of us, but eventually the Obamacare nightmare will end.

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