The Obamacare Inquisition Is on Hold … for Now
The House Democrats` Torquemada got
cold feet. Self-styled
inquisitor" Henry Waxman announced this week
that he`s canceling a planned show trial of corporate
executives who called public attention to the financial
hit they`re taking as a result of President Obama`s
health care mandate. Business owners can breathe a small
sigh of relief. But the witch hunt isn`t over.
recall that Waxman fired off nasty-grams to the
heads of Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon and AT&T last
month, demanding their presence at a congressional
auto de fé.
Their sin? Publicly reporting the costs and consequences
of federal health care taxes on their firms` bottom
lines. A vindictive Waxman sought internal documents and
e-mails from the CEOs about the profit charges. Commerce
Secretary Gary Locke took to the White House blog and TV
airwaves to condemn the
An April 14 memorandum from the
Committee on Energy and Commerce Majority Staff informed
the Democratic hounds that the
with accounting standards
in submitting filings to the Securities and Exchange
Commission in March and April." [PDF]Indeed,
after haggling about the overall impact of the health
care mandate on firms` annual company cash flows, the
staff memo acknowledged that notifying shareholders of
these big one-time company write-downs was
"required" by law.
No apology from Locke, Waxman or
his Democratic co-bully on the committee Rep. Bart
Stupak has been forthcoming. Instead, the ruling
majority seems bent on pressuring private companies to
"beneficial" impacts of the law. The committee staff
extracted statements from the targeted companies that
term savings for the country" and their businesses.
And "if" donkeys were elephants, they
"could" spray water from their trunks.
As Elizabeth MacDonald of Fox
Business Network points out, the Democrats continue to
distort a Business Roundtable study—cited in Waxman`s
threat letters to Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon and
AT&T—in order to bolster their claims that Obamacare
will create cost-savings of $3,000 on average per worker
over 10 years. But
"the study is not
based on the new bill," she reports, and is premised
on Congress adopting free-market changes and malpractice
reform abandoned by the Democrats.
In fact, some of those free-market
solutions, such as health care savings accounts, are
endangered by Obamacare. As Indiana GOP Gov. Mitch
Daniels pointed out in The Wall Street Journal last
week, the state will likely be forced to shift
low-income residents into the federal Medicaid program
and out of an innovative Hoosier State insurance program
that includes health savings accounts.
While Obamacare benefits remain as
distant from reality as Elin is from Tiger, the damage
has already arrived. Side effects are manifesting
themselves in private medical practices from Arizona to
Florida—where doctors are closing up shop in
anticipation of the law`s impact. Those cost-benefit
decisions will only exacerbate existing shortages.
Moreover, at academic health centers such as the
University of Texas Medical Branch, officials there
"crowd out" in their medical homes,
"with longer wait
times for appointments and/or physicians capping the
number of patients they see."
Waxman may have given a few
companies a temporary reprieve for shedding light on
Obamacare`s consequences. But medical professionals are
already on notice that informing their patients that
unwelcome change is coming will carry considerable risk.
Dr. Jack Cassell, the urologist who
posted a protest sign against the law at his office,
still faces ethics probes at the behest of Florida
Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson.
And as Waxman himself vowed in his
hearing cancellation letter to company heads,
will closely monitor the implementation of the new law
and will schedule hearings on the impact of the law as
appropriate." Torquemada is waiting for a second
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
is the author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our
for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin
is also author of
Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild
and the just-released Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.