On his national radio show Friday night, Mark Levin was reading from an Associated Press dispatch from Josh Funk about how U.S. companies are responding to the new health care law by estimating large new tax burdens and perhaps dropping out of covering prescription-drug expenses for retirees. When will the media arrive on this story?
The answer is probably when the press aides to socialist Rep. Henry Waxman set up their hearings to rail against the companies. Waxman's angry with news that companies like AT&T are predicting massive tax charges, reported the Dallas Morning News (AT&T estimated their added tax charges as $1 billlion):
The company announcements Friday prompted Democrats in Congress to push back.
Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who co-chairs a subcommittee on oversight and investigations, said he'll convene a hearing next month to question company executives about their moves.
"The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern," said a letter from Waxman and co-chair Bart Stupak inviting executives such as AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson to testify.
Funk's story for the AP began:
The health care overhaul will cost U.S. companies billions and make them more likely to drop prescription drug coverage for retirees because of a change in how the government subsidizes those benefits.
In the first two days after the law was signed, three major companies — Deere & Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Valero Energy — said they expect to take a total hit of $265 million to account for smaller tax deductions in the future.
With more than 3,500 companies now getting the tax break as an incentive to keep providing coverage, others are almost certain to announce similar cost increases in the weeks ahead as they sort out the impact of the change.
Figuring out what it will mean for retirees will take longer, but analysts said as many as 2 million could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers, leaving them to enroll in Medicare's program.