"When major companies declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings, Democrats were skeptical. But after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results.
"At issue is a section of the law that eliminates a tax break available to companies that provide drug benefits to retirees as part of their insurance coverage.
"...Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, 'From a financial standpoint, from a purely economic standpoint, many companies would be better off discontinuing health care as a fringe benefit, paying the penalty and pocketing the savings.' "