If you remember, Henry Waxman promised to force corporate CEOs before his committee to answer for their sins? Their offense? Disclosing that ObamaCare is going to cost businesses billions of dollars.
After the ENRON debacle, reforms were put in place. Among them was a requirement that corporations must disclose any adverse event that affects their bottom line. Many companies did just that-they did what the government requires them to do. Here is some background from the WSJ…
On top of AT&T’s $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.(Emphasis mine)
As Joe Biden might put it, this is a big, er, deal for shareholders and the economy. The consulting firm Towers Watson estimates that the total hit this year will reach nearly $14 billion, unless corporations cut retiree drug benefits when their labor contracts let them.
So, these corporations did what was required of them, and Waxman was going to punish them. Here’s more from the same WSJ article.
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. Black-letter financial accounting rules require that corporations immediately restate their earnings to reflect the present value of their long-term health liabilities, including a higher tax burden. Should these companies have played chicken with the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid this politically inconvenient reality? Democrats don’t like what their bill is doing in the real world, so they now want to intimidate CEOs into keeping quiet.
So, I think Waxman’s plan was to drag these folks in front of the camera, and publicly castigate them for following regulations. Of course, the MSM would have spun it, and the actual facts would have been ignored.
And then…it didn’t happen at all. Here is an excerpt from the Daily Caller.
Key committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat — whose energetic investigations are loathed by many in Washington — demanded reams of documents to investigate whether the companies were making a political show out of the cost disclosures.
And then … nothing. Waxman at the last minute canceled a hearing to grill executives about the issue.
Publicly, Waxman said the investigation showed the companies’ disclosures were properly filed. But a new report from committee Republicans reveals the documents Waxman obtained included embarrassing evidence that the health-care law could drive up insurance premiums and force employers to dump employees from their health plans.
“Turns out Obamacare means if you like your health plan you can lose it. The president didn’t have to actually strong-arm companies into dumping their employee health insurance because his bill carried financial incentives to virtually guarantee that result,” Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican, said.
Most significantly, documents unearthed by the investigation highlight companies that are considering dumping employees from their current health-care plans in the face of new costs from the health-care law. President Obama repeatedly promised his health-care law would let Americans keep their current insurance if they’re happy with it.
A March 3 internal Verizon memo on the impact health-care law said new taxes on insurance companies and health-care equipment manufacturers will be passed onto employers through higher prices.
Facing such increased costs, employers like Verizon “may consider exiting the health-care market and send employees to the exchanges,” the memo says.
Under the law, companies would pay fines for not providing insurance companies coverage. But, the Verizon memo said, the fines would be “modest” compared to providing coverage for employees.
Excuse me for seeming smug, but ISN’T THIS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE SAYING ALL ALONG? Really, every one of these points were made by Conservatives throughout the debate, and we were uniformly attacked for it. We were lying. We were tools of the insurance industry (I have yet to see a dime from the insurance industry, BTW). We were fear mongering. And now, the MSM will never cover this because we were right, and Obama lied…and lied…and lied.
Then again, the lack of coverage is another tool of the left- and it goes a bit beyond not covering the negatives. In this situation, like so many others, the MSM plays up a false allegation made by the government or the Dems. Then, when it is proven false, there is no coverage. That way, they can get the sound byte sheeple to think something is true, and then, when the allegation is proven to be false, then the coverage goes away, and the sheeple still think it’s true.
The conclusion? Our predictions about ObamaCare are coming to pass. The MSM and the administration cannot keep it under wraps forever. We can expect more spin and denial, until it becomes too big to ignore. Then, in the crisis that this law is meant to create, more government will be held up as the solution.