The Bottom Line

Just like Michael Moore predicted – but then, he’s fat and probably a socialist, so who listens to him anyway?

Seriously, who couldn’t see this coming? Dumb Dems.

House Democrats abruptly canceled hearings into major US companies’ responses to their massive health care overhaul after receiving documents revealing that companies were considering dropping all of their employees’ health benefits in response to the healthcare bill.

Documents obtained by Fortune and published on CNN show that AT&T and other major companies — including Verizon, Deere and Caterpillar — considered eliminating their employee benefits program and simply paying a fine to the government for those they employed without insurance. The fine for AT&T would have amounted to $2,000 per employee, costing the company a grand total of $600 million a year. Maintaining benefits, meanwhile, will cost the firm some $4.6 billion.

Democrats apparently canceled hearings into the companies practices when they received the documents and learned that such hearings might expose a major flaw in their health insurance overhaul: namely that companies might pay a fine rather than provide benefits for employees because the fine would be dramatically cheaper. They’ve had the documents for roughly a month, Fortune magazine said.

Of course, I would have immediately dropped AT&T as my phone carrier. Bastards.

12 thoughts on “The Bottom Line

  1. While I would not put it past some corporations to do this, I wonder why they haven’t thought of it before, and what is different now? Before it would not cost them anything. They would save the entire cost of their medical benefits. Now it will cost them $2000 per employee to do it.

    So, I guess I am wondering if they wouldn’t do it before (and save more money), why would they do it now?

  2. Good question, Jerry. My first instinct is to say you’re right, if they were going to, they already would have (as have so many other businesses). Corporations maintain that they provide healthcare to attract and retain talent, so this would be counter-productive and might cause a riot at company headquarters to boot.

    Hmmm…those are mighty big companies. Maybe the CEOs got together after 18 holes at Augusta and decided to pull a little extortion racket on Congress, you know, give us what we want in pork or contracts or revisions or amendments, or we’re going to make you look REALLY stupid.

  3. And the first comment at Raw Story:

    I hope they do it.

    We’ll get single payer for sure.

    No doubt that’s why the Ds cancelled the hearings. They don’t want single payer any more than the other legacy party does.

  4. Who couldn’t see this coming, indeed. The corporate aristocracy showing just who really controls Amerika.

  5. They get tax credits to offer the insurance right now, don’t they? Is that going away? So if the combination of losing tax credits and paying a fine is less than they will save, of course they’ll do it. No human or group of humans is more valuable than money.

    “Caterpillar and AT&T actually spell out the cost differences: Caterpillar did its estimate in November, when the most likely legislation would have imposed an 8% payroll tax on companies that do not provide coverage,” CNN’s Shawn Tully wrote late Wednesday. “Even with that immense penalty, Caterpillar stated that it could shave $25 million a year, or almost 10% from its bill. Now, because the $2,000 is far lower than 8%, it could reduce its bill by over 70%, by Fortune’s estimate.”

  6. @lambert: we won’t get single payer for sure. these workers will be dumped into the insurance exchange. Many will not qualify for subsidies, and will be forced to buy insurance they can’t afford to pay for and can’t afford to use because of the high deductibles. They will have to choose between paying the mortgage or student loan and paying the insurance bill. wait til winter, when it’s a choice of pay the bill or heat the house.

    they canceled the hearings, not because the dems want to avoid single payer, but because it makes the new law, and by extension the democrats who voted for it, look like a piece of shit, which it is and which they are.

  7. As I am neither surprises nor expected the companies move, my suggestion is to await more surprises or expected moves by companies, Pharma and the health insurance company. Actually, I believe the Abama’s will also surprise or fulfill our dreams of violating the bill that is not reform.

    Single payer will happen, as my mother used to say, not before hair will grow in the palm of my hand. What do you thing we are Canada or England?

  8. Oh f-ck Michael Moore. He did a whole movie about universal health care, and then supported Obama anyway.

  9. As we’re finding out, folks, the corporate ownership class has gamed the system after decades of slow, methodical erosion of personal rights and their influence on elections so that they now effectively “own” the government. Don’t fall for the Dem vs Rep banter. It doesn’t matter WHO is in office (president, congress), WE get screwed and foot the bill while THEY get to pay little to no tax (check out corporate tax contributions over the past 5 years), are instrumental in creating this police state we now find ourselves in, and we continue to lose our rights, environment and standard of living.

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