And so it begins…immediately. USAToday reports:
NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T will take a $1 billion non-cash accounting charge in the first quarter because of the health care overhaul and may cut benefits it offers to current and retired workers.
The charge is the largest disclosed so far. Earlier this week, AK Steel, Caterpillar, Deere and Valero Energy announced similar accounting charges, saying the health care law that President Obama signed Tuesday will raise their expenses. On Friday, 3M said it will also take a charge of $85 million to $90 million.
All five are smaller than AT&T (T), and their combined charges are less than half of the $1 billion that AT&T is planning. The $1 billion is a third of AT&T’s most recent quarterly earnings. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the company earned $3 billion on revenue of $30.9 billion.
AT&T also said Friday that it is looking into changing the health care benefits it offers because of the new law. Analysts say retirees could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers as a result of the overhaul.
As if ANY OF US really believed the liberal lie that private insurance wouldn’t be impacted. Or even the argument that it would take YEARS. Yeah, right!