WASHINGTON | Thu., Apr. 26, 2012 5:22pm EDT (Reuters) — Congressional Republicans last week issued a politically charged report that quoted President Barack Obama's corporate advisers as predicting his 2010 health care overhaul would raise — not lower — the cost of care.
The report, released as the Supreme Court weighs the fate of Obama's health care law, was compiled by the Republican staff of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee with input from major corporations including General Electric, Southwest Airlines and American Express.
The companies, members of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, see costs rising as a result of higher taxes, fees, and bureaucratic burdens, according to the report, titled "Higher Costs, More Confusion, Less Coverage."
They also are concerned about new benefits requiring free preventive care, the removal of lifetime limits and insurance coverage dependents, and said the law created an incentive to drop employer-sponsored health coverage by imposing penalties that are much lower than the cost of insurance per employee, the report said. "These expected cost increases directly contradict the president's claims that (the reform law) would tame the health care cost curve," the report's authors said.
White House spokesman Nick Papas dismissed the document as a "partisan report," while arguing in a blog posting that the health care law will reduce costs for businesses. Congressional Democrats denounced the report as "misleading, inaccurate, contradictory" and produced their own list of corporate comments in arguing that reforms would not raise costs.
"The report fails to meet the standard of unbiased, fact-based investigation expected from the committee," Representatives Henry Waxman and Diana DeGette, two leading Democrats on the panel, said in a letter to the committee's top Republicans.
Earlier last week, the nonpartisan research group Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report saying that consumers and employers can expect to receive about $1.3 billion in premium rebates from health insurers this year, as a result of the law.
(Reporting By David Morgan; Editing by Paul Simao)
© 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.
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