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President's Job Council Members Cite Worries on Health Care Law

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess, M.D., a member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that while President Obama repeatedly promised lower health care costs and insurance premiums, the analysis of businesses executives from his own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness reflect deep worries about the costly job-crippling impacts and threats to employee-provided insurance from the President's signature health care law.

"Whatever they may have told the President about the impact of his health care law, internal reports from these companies now reveal concerns for increased costs and uncertainty," said Dr. Burgess. "Documents produced by members of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness reveal what many working Americans may have also have worried: that the President's health care law increases costs -- not decreases costs."

Southwest Airlines' analysis in June 2010 stated its broader concerns from increased costs: "For example, over the next ten years, the legislation will impose taxes and fees of $107 billion on insurance companies…as well as on pharmaceutical manufacturers. Without question, some or all of those taxes and fees will be passed on to Southwest Airlines. Also, certain coverage provisions…will increase Southwest's costs."

The documents provided by Jobs Council member companies to the Investigations Subcommittee show there will be strong incentives for companies to drop coverage -- and just pay a federal penalty for not providing their employees with insurance:

Southwest Airlines: "$414 million to provide healthcare versus $111 million in penalties."

Boeing: "It's probable that many employers will decide to discontinue offering health plans in the post-health care reform environment."

The Investigations Subcommittee found all members of the President's Jobs Council stating they want to maintain a loyal workforce and that providing health care benefits is an important factor in maintaining that workforce. However, President Obama's health care law raises costs for businesses and gives them incentives to drop their health care plans. If one company drops its health care coverage, competitors may be forced to drop coverage in order to compete.


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