Obamacare's Truth Panels

After a year of lying to taxpayers about the true costs of Obamacare, Democrats have moved on to bullying private sector companies into lying to their investors about the heavy burden of the new law.

CEOs carrying out their legal duty to report to shareholders the reduced value of their companies due to Obamacare’s punishing taxes are being scolded by the White House for playing partisan political games and trying to “embarrass the president.” 

The CEOs will even be hauled before Congress later this month to defend their grim assessments. Which makes me wonder: How many more of Obamacare’s inconvenient truth-sayers will be forced to defend themselves before Obamacare’s Truth Panels?

Though most of Obamacare’s provisions don’t kick in until 2014, corporations big and small are already preparing for the new law’s devastating effects. Last Friday companies announced that they will be forced to drop health coverage for some employees and retirees. The disclosures are the result of Obamacare’s 2013 elimination of a tax break on retiree drug benefits, which will cost U.S. corporations as much as $14 billion, according to an estimate by Towers Watson, a benefits consulting firm.

AT&T reported an Obamacare-induced write-down of $1 billion. Caterpillar reported that the new health bill will raise its bottom line $100 million in the initial year and threaten coverage for its 150,000 employees and retirees. Deere disclosed losses of $150 million. And so on.

Where will employees and retirees go for health care? They’ll likely be pushed into the “government option” of Medicare.

Some Democrats see politics behind the disclosures. A White House staffer reportedly told the American Spectator, “These are Republican CEOs who are trying to embarrass the president and Democrats in general. Where do you hear about this stuff? The Wall Street Journal editorial page and conservative websites. No one else picked up on this but you guys. It’s BS.”

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told CNBC that it is “premature and irresponsible” for the companies to issue the reports. These responses are in keeping with the Obama administration’s tendency to dismiss unflattering revelations about the consequences of its policies as motivated by “politics” or “partisanship.”

Perhaps we should be grateful no one on the Left has yet claimed the CEOs are motivated by racism, since most of them presumably are white.

Congressional Democrats are also taking action. This week, Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent letters to CEOs of the offending firms. He’s demanding that they appear before a congressional panel on April 21st to testify and give full documentation about how they came to their estimates.

In his letter, Waxman called the companies’ estimates “a matter of concern.” He says they “appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

It is sad that the party that so vehemently condemns enhanced interrogation of terrorists would be so eager to interrogate America’s private sector job creators. But then again the terrorists aren’t undermining the integrity of the Democrats’ signature policy initiative of the last 40 years.

It’s also sad that the party that’s intimidating those who expose the truth of Obamacare is simultaneously pushing for an enhanced whistleblower protection law for federal employees.

These CEOs aren’t trying to embarrass the president. They’re looking out for their investors and following the law, which requires that corporations state their earnings to reflect the present value of their long-term health liabilities, including the higher taxes under Obamacare.

Administration officials may call the write-downs “premature.” But write-downs and job losses are exactly what Republicans and many corporations warned would happen in the months leading up to Obamacare’s passage.

It is ridiculous that Democrats are attacking corporations for disclosures that are required by the comprehensive reforms in corporate accounting that they helped champion only a few years ago.

The Democrats’ rush to drag before congressional panels those who “embarrass the president” by revealing the truth about Obamacare is rooted in their fear that such revelations will only reinforce public opposition to the law.

The president says he welcomes a Republican fight over the repeal of Obamacare. But Democrats know that any more bad news about the new law will hurt their prospects in November. 

As more of the lies that Democrats told to get this law passed are exposed, we should perhaps prepare for more Obamacare Truth Panels like those before which CEOs will be forced to stand later this month.  

Soon enough, we can expect truth panels for doctors forced to ration care, and truth panels for nurses forced to perform abortions under a law that omitted a conscience clause. And we can expect truth panels for citizens who discover that their hard-earned wages will be confiscated to pay for abortions and health care for illegal immigrants.

And given that, according to a new Gallup/USA Today poll, a majority of Americans think Obamacare is too expensive, expands government too much and doesn’t do enough to control costs, one wonders how many Americans will get caught up in the Democrats’ sting.

During much of the healthcare debate, many Americans worried about the prospect of having to stand in front of Obama’s “death panels,” which would decide whether they were worthy of health care based on a subjective judgment of their level of productivity in society.

A more plausible fear for the new law’s most immediate victims may be the prospect of standing before Obamacare’s Truth Panels, which will brow-beat into submission anyone who dares speak the truth about this unconstitutional law.