Waxman's war against reality on healthy care costs

IBD Editorial:

Rep. Henry Waxman vowed to haul CEOs into hearings after they revealed just how much ObamaCare will cost their firms. It's an absurd war on bookkeeping, from a Congress desperate to avoid heat for this fiasco.

In the wake of President Obama's presidential signature on the gargantuan Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last Thursday, big companies have crunched their numbers and come up with an ugly picture.

In legally mandated filings, AT&T reported that ObamaCare will cost it $1 billion. Deere & Co. reported $150 million in new costs. Caterpillar must cough up $100 million. 3M must pay another $90 million. AK Steel gets to fork over $31 million. Valero Energy will pay $30 million. There'll be more as other companies report anticipated costs to fulfill their requirements to inform shareholders. What it shows is a huge wave of costs rolling over the private sector to pay for this bill.

It's the real cost of ObamaCare, a bill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had touted daily as "paid for" in her pitch for Congressional votes.

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, it's paid for because everything is paid for. The question is by whom.

The coming costs are the result of a little-scrutinized ObamaCare provision ending a tax credit for prescription drugs. The credit had been there to encourage firms to carry those costs for retirees.

As a result of ObamaCare's changes, companies now can either pay for those costs — and lay off workers, hold off expansion or move abroad — or scrap their prescription drug programs altogether, dumping their retirees onto the federal government.


The executives he is calling as witnesses will be in a very strong position. They should bring their accountants and the GOP should bring in the SEC as witesses to support the accounting treatment. The executives should also be prepared to present Waxman with the stark alternative of turning all the prescription drug cost for retirees over to Medicare and let Waxman see what that does to the CBO estimates that show the bill as being paid for.

Valero Energy is the first of the energy sector to report its adjustments. This sector has some of the largest companies in the world and their costs will be significantly higher. I expect the numbers to grow. These costs will mean less money to pay for exploration and production and may mean fewer jobs for Americans.

Rich Lowry also takes on the Waxman perfidy.


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