Healthcare Debacle continues to get worse......

Kelly - posted on 03/31/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_147...

While most of the purported benefits of health-care insurance reform are years away, it took only a few days for a serious, unintended consequence to emerge.

Last week, telecommunications giant AT&T, which employs more than 280,000 people, announced it would take a $1 billion, non-cash, first-quarter loss because the bill ends an exemption on benefits for retirees.

Likewise, the largest maker of earth-moving equipment, Caterpillar, claims it will take a $100 million charge. Deere & Company, the world's largest producer of agriculture equipment, will take a $150 million charge. 3M, maker of Scotch Tape and other products, says it will take a hit of as much as $90 million.

It's all because a provision in the bill reduces the tax deductions for companies with drug coverage for their retired employees. The tax deduction and the subsequent government subsidies were designed to encourage those companies to keep their retirees covered rather than foisting them onto Medicare.

Now, it's likely those companies and others will simply shuffle those once covered under the private sector to Medicare. If not, corporations could offset the costs with layoffs or shift the cost to consumers.

Some business groups say the provision is a blow to corporate profits, and also could discourage companies from hiring more workers. Reform backers say those charges are overblown.

Verizon already has notified its employees to expect changes to their benefit plans because, it says, the new law "may have significant implications for both retirees and employers." And with more than 3,500 American companies no longer able to benefit from this tax structure, the number of employees affected is only going rise.

The tax exemption, offered as part of 2003's Medicare Part D, was a means of incentivizing companies to keep retirees on their prescription drug coverage plans. The Obama administration claimed that closing this supposed loophole would raise about $4.5 billion over 10 years to help offset the cost of the nearly $1 trillion health care reform.

Yet The Associated Press has reported that a large utility company in Michigan already has stated it would recover all losses from its customers through rate hikes.

Instead of acknowledging that top-down economic planning usually brings with it some unintended costs, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., immediately politicized the news by attacking industry. Without any authority, Waxman demanded that AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, and John Deere justify the "costs the companies plan to book related to the new health-care law."

Many of the hidden costs of this law will be evident soon enough, but we hope this provision doesn't end up costing the country more than it was meant to save.

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Jeannette - posted on 04/03/2010

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Hmmm...I think major corporations fishing for my pity, need to learn how to fish. I already know thier greatest concerns...profits for ME ME ME!!! Sorry no pity here.
Now, our tax base will continue to shrink as long as the job market continues to shrink. The more people can be replaced by computers and machines, the smaller the work force. Also, I have not seen any attempts to bring jobs back to America by repealing NAFTA and GATT a huge promise Obama made that he retracked the day after the elections.
The whole govt getting bigger may make some ppl who were already inferior feel all better now...but some of us would survive the worst of times without the handouts.
With that statement being out there...I am not angry about the Health care bill. I do not wish for it to be repealed as of yet. I am not against the govt taking over student loans (as they have done before). I believe in order for us all to be on equal footing we do have to have some opportunities equal...health and education should not be just for those who've already made it and can afford it!!!!!
STOP CORPORATE hand-outs, stop monetary promises to foreign govts..bring jobs back to America!

Sharon - posted on 03/31/2010

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I don't know if its my computer or this website, but it won't let me edit my post...



My husband used to work for home depot.



My point was that I don't feel bad for the retirees who might be affected by this. They earned more than enough money to provide for themselves what the underlings can't do for themselves because of the crazy ass shit corporations pull.



In my town? Full time jobs are for MANAGEMENT ONLY. Sometimes lower management but never your average retail worker. So benefits? Only if you manage to hang in there for 1 - 3 years.

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Kelly - posted on 04/01/2010

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AT&T, John Deere, 3M, Caterpillar.......... these are not department stores Sharon. If you are talking about some store in a mall, then sure, those jobs aren't meant to be CAREERS. Most large corporations offer retirement benefits. I have worked for large finance firms and a major airline and they all offer retirement benefits to all their full time employees, no matter what your level is. The retirees that are affected by this are average people. And why would stockholders ever receive retirement benefits?

Sharon - posted on 03/31/2010

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LMFAO! When is the last time you knew a store manager of ANY department store who RETIRED W/BENEFITS?



I don't know a single one. Everyone of them was fired or encouraged to quit LONG before retirement benefits was an option.



ONLY the higher ups get those. And let me tell you, their pay should have been more than enough to create a good savings base to live off of.



Those corporations are just going to screw the little guy because they can.



Maybe you guys have read or seen news footage about the violence in mexico lately?



My husbands boss was on vacation down there (moron) w/his daughter, on their way home there was a shooting a dead body fell onto their car and standing rolled its way down the passenger side. The car was shot and the daughter was terrified. The guy was a little shook up too.



He requested some time off to help his daughter. He was encouraged to quit. Of course nothing obvious was said, just "hints" or "suggestions" but failing that they could have always fired for that crazy "late 3 times in a year is grounds for termination" clause.



My store clock and my satellite timed cellphone, sat system, sat. based car radio system are NOT the same. I have not set my digital satellite time or my car radio or my cellphone, they all get their time from the satellites. But I've been late 4 times since I was hired. My boss doesn't give a shit, but I KNOW for a fact that if there is ever an issue, they'll use it to fire me.



No, they aren't talking about your average employee losing his retirement benefit. They're talking about major shareholders and VIP type retirees'.

Kelly - posted on 03/31/2010

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Since the other healthcare thread is getting quite lengthy, I thought I would start one on the most recent news. (I have this on PDM as well) Looking forward to seeing your responses. :) as far as my own,



Medicare will be bankrupt in about 6-8 years and our national debt is projected to be more than our GDP in 2010. Can anyone still continue to justify that this healthcare reform was a GOOD thing for the US right now? The reality is, no amount of taxation can catch up to the rising deficit, and as companies are going to continue to layoff and have hiring freezes, the tax base is becoming smaller and smaller anyway. I predict the not-so-far future will show the RATIONING of healthcare. First to medicare patients, and soon to the entire populous once the private insurance industry is crushed by big government. Welcome to the beginning of an Orwellian future.....

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