Pixel Tracker

Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 11:19 am | A Few Clouds 56º

 
 
 
 

Michelle Malkin: Obamacare Inquisition on Hold — for Now

Damage has already been done in the feud over the financial effects on companies

The House Democrats’ Torquemada got cold feet. Self-styled “chief inquisitor” Henry Waxman announced last 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 Barack Obama’s health-care mandate. Business owners can breathe a small sigh of relief. But the witch hunt isn’t over.

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

You’ll recall that Waxman fired off nasty-grams to the heads of John 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 companies’ bottom lines. The vindictive California Democrat 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 “premature” and “irresponsible” disclosures.

In the immortal words of the late comedian Gilda Radner’s goof-prone Saturday Night Live character Emily Litella, the finger-waggers and gavel-wielders are now muttering: “Never mind.”

An April 14 memorandum from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce majority staff informed the Democratic hounds that the “companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission in March and April.” 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, D-Mich., has been forthcoming. Instead, the ruling majority seems bent on pressuring private companies to peddle the “beneficial” impacts of the law. The committee staff extracted statements from the targeted companies that “if” implemented “right” and “correct(ly),” Obamacare “could” achieve “long-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 Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, pointed out in The Wall Street Journal last week, the state is likely to 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 Woods, 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 expect patient “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 Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.

And as Waxman vowed in his hearing cancellation letter to company heads, “the subcommittee 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 wind.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

Email
I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.