by Rep. John Boehner, R-OH
On Tuesday, in response to Boeing’s announcement that its non-union employees will have to pay “significantly more” for their health plans next year due to ObamaCare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shirked responsibility for the cost increases – and, in keeping with the Obama administration’s anti-business, anti-jobs policies that show little understanding of the private sector or its workers, attacked the messenger. Secretary Sebelius’s comments echoed similar attacks Democrats launched against other American employers earlier this year when they reported billions in extra costs due to ObamaCare.
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Despite Democrats’ efforts to shift the blame, Boeing’s announcement is just the latest embarrassment for ObamaCare. Other recent examples show how the negative, unintended consequences of ObamaCare are hurting businesses, increasing costs and compromising coverage for millions of American workers:
- Raising Costs for Workers. “In a letter mailed to employees late last week, [Boeing] cited the overhaul as part of the reason it is asking some 90,000 nonunion workers to pay significantly more for their health plan next year.” (The Associated Press, 10/18/10) “A new study by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers found that nearly half (47 percent) of executives surveyed expect the new healthcare law to have a ‘notable financial impact on their businesses.’ … Over half of the respondents (52 percent) are likely to significantly change employee contributions for medical coverage.” (The Hill, 10/14/10) “Employers can expect to pay nearly 9 percent more for health care costs for their workers in 2011, the highest level in five years, according to a forecast released on Monday. And employers will likely ask their workers to [pay] 12 percent more of these costs out of their pockets, according to the report from consulting group Hewitt Associates.” (Reuters, 9/27/10)
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- Shutting Out Retirees. “3M Co. confirmed it would eventually stop offering its health-insurance plan to retirees, citing the federal health overhaul as a factor. … The St. Paul, Minn., manufacturing conglomerate notified employees on Friday that it would change retiree benefits both for those who are too young to qualify for Medicare and for those who qualify for the Medicare program. … ‘In addition, health care reform has made it more difficult for employers like 3M to provide a plan that will remain competitive,’ the [3M] memo [to employees] said.” (The Wall Street Journal, 10/4/10)
- Compromising Coverage for Part-Time and Low-Wage Workers. “McDonald’s and 29 other companies that provide very limited health insurance benefits to nearly 1 million workers have been granted one-year waivers by the federal government from a health-reform law provision. … The waivers were granted because the companies contended that to meet the requirement they would have had to raise premiums 200 percent on average. Some had said they would drop the benefit altogether.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 10/8/10) “‘The big political issue here is the president promised no one would lose the coverage they’ve got,’ Robert Laszewski, chief executive officer of consulting company Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said by telephone. ‘Here we are a month before the election, and these companies represent 1 million people who would lose the coverage they’ve got.’” (Bloomberg, 10/5/10)
BETTER SOLUTIONS IN THE PLEDGE TO AMERICA. According to a recent Kaiser Health Tracking survey, public support for ObamaCare “ticked downward in October,” with “almost half of likely voters in next month’s election sa[ying] they have an unfavorable view of the Democrats’ signature legislation.” Republicans have listened to Americans, and offered better solutions in the Pledge to America. The Pledge to America calls for repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with real reforms, including: enacting medical liability reform; granting consumers the freedom to purchase coverage across state lines; expanding Health Savings Accounts; strengthening the doctor-patient relationship; ensuring access for those with pre-existing conditions and permanently prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion. Republicans have repeatedly called for immediate enactment of the Pledge, and will continue standing with the American people to stop the devastating impact ObamaCare is having on U.S. workers and their employers.