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Corporate health reform concerns prompt House hearing

Posted On: Mar. 29, 2010 12:00 AM CST

WASHINGTON—A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to hold a hearing next month on assertions by some corporations that the new health care reform law will “adversely affect” their ability to provide employee health benefits.

Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the panel’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, sent letters Friday to four corporate executives that requested they appear before the subcommittee.

The letters were sent to Samuel R. Allen, chairman and CEO of Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co.; James W. Owens, chairman and CEO of Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc.; Ivan G. Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of New York-based Verizon Communications Inc.; and Randall Stephenson, chairman, president and CEO of Dallas-based AT&T Inc. The letters note that each company had said that the new law will adversely affect their cost of providing employee health benefits.

“These assertions appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs,” the House committee said in a statement announcing the hearing, scheduled for April 21. The letters called the four companies’ assertions “a matter of concern.”