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Cause and Effect: Health Care's New Tax

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For months, we've watched the endless debate surrounding health care reform. Even with a bill signed and sealed, health care reform is not over. Now is where the real work begins.

At Business Roundtable, we have worked with Congress throughout this process to find a solution to benefit everyone - from businesses to retirees to employees and their families. We even conducted research to identify how much the right reforms could save employers - research that is now being widely misquoted. To clarify, our study showed that certain reform provisions - not necessarily the ones contained in the final law - could save as much as $3,000 per employee by 2019. It also said that some of the proposed provisions would raise costs.

One of those reforms - the tax treatment of companies' retiree drug subsidies - was included in the final bill. This provision has caused significant challenges for many of America's leading companies, who are now taking hundreds of millions, even a billion dollar hit to earnings, ultimately affecting the benefits of their employees and families. Despite the fact that we raised the specter of this problem early and often in the health care reform discussions, it has triggered cries of indignation from Congress that we are trying to undermine the new law.

Nothing could be farther from the truth; we are rightly focused on implementing the new law as smartly and efficiently as possible. But with this new political brouhaha, my greatest fear is on the verge of being realized - that the highly-charged political environment surrounding health care reform will interfere with the monumental task of implementation.

You can read more on my thoughts surrounding the keys to success for implementing the new health care legislation on my blog: A Seat at the Roundtable.