Happy Friday! Here’s an interesting story from yesterday that I just never got around to
The great mystery surrounding the historic health care bill is how the corporations that provide coverage for most Americans — coverage they know and prize — will react to the new law’s radically different regime of subsidies, penalties, and taxes. Now, we’re getting a remarkable inside look at the options AT&T, Deere, and other big companies are weighing to deal with the new legislation.
Internal documents recently reviewed by Fortune, originally requested by Congress, show what the bill’s critics predicted, and what its champions dreaded: many large companies are examining a course that was heretofore unthinkable, dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penalty fees to the government.
There’s no mystery about this, except in the deluded liberal media. This is exactly the kind of thing we did warn against, and it is not some sort of unintended consequence of the legislation. It is the point of the legislation, to get everyone under the umbrella of government health offerings, which gives the government control over people’s lives. It’s the same with the majority of their legislation, which is rarely about fixing things, but about assuming control, which they hope leads to votes from those they are “providing for.”
These documents would probably have never seen the light of day had Henry Waxman (D) not had a hissy fit when the companies announce, by law, their write-downs due to the passage of the bill. And what we got from all the documents he requested was
AT&T produced a PowerPoint slide entitled “Medical Cost Versus No Coverage Penalty.” A document prepared for Verizon by consulting firm Hewitt Resources stated, “Even though the proposed assessments [on companies that do not provide health care] are material, they are modest when compared to the average cost of health care,” and that to avoid costs and regulations, “employers may consider exiting the health care market and send employees to the Exchanges.” (Under the new bill, employees who lose their coverage will purchase health care through state-run exchanges.)
I’ve written about it in posts and comments, and if the company is saving a ton of money by dumping health insurance offerings in favor of the fines, it would make sense to do just that. And these few companies would not be alone. They would all do that. Which is why the fines are very low, to goad companies to pay them, and get people under the banner of The Government, on the path to single payer. Everything else in the bill is window dressing. It is all about putting government in charge.
AT&T revealed that it spends $2.4 billion a year on coverage for its almost 300,000 active employees, a number that would fall to $600 million if AT&T stopped providing health care coverage and paid the penalty option instead. AT&T declined comment.
Something to consider that is not in the article but extremely relevant, and important, is that if just one employee goes out and gets insurance through the exchange, the company would have to pay the fine for every single employee. Many companies have lots of part time employees, who generally do not sign up for the insurance offerings, since they are much more expensive for part timers. These employees would be a danger to get the exchange insurance. And you never know if someone else would get the insurance. So, why take the chance? Mark my words, companies will eventually dump their offerings. Which is what Obama and the Donkeys want.