6 Big Companies Claiming Job Losses from Obamacare

Business, Money, News, Politics

When Obama’s healthcare reform law passed, many rejoiced because they would finally have access to affordable health insurance.  In addition, Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed it would “create 4 million jobs—400,000 jobs almost immediately.”

Others predicted a new wave of entrepreneurship (and hiring) would be unleashed, as entrepreneurs chained to their jobs solely for health insurance could finally start their own businesses.

But not everyone is happy. Many companies are claiming that “Obamacare” is going to cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, which will force them to lay off employees or forgo hiring new ones.

Here are six large companies claiming that Obamacare will mean fewer jobs:

1. Sallie Mae—When Obama signed the healthcare reform back in March, Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest student lender, announced they would have to cut 2,500 jobs. They told 1,200 staffers in their various service centers they will lose their jobs by year end, and the rest of the job cuts will follow in 2011. That’s nearly one-third of the company’s total work force.

The reason for the job cuts is that the new healthcare law has a part that removes banks from the student loan business. According to Sallie Mae’s CEO, the new law “is not good for the company and it’s certainly not good for the employees.”

2. Medtronic—Healthcare reform legislation imposes a 2.3 percent excise tax on sales of most medical devices. This excise tax applies to all types of medical products, ranging from surgical instruments to bed pans, and it’s expected to bring in $20 billion in taxes to help pay for healthcare reform.

Obviously, many medical device manufacturers are less than pleased with the new tax, and several are predicting layoffs. The biggest of the bunch is Medtronic. Bill Hawkins, chief executive of the company, said his company will likely cut at least 1,000 jobs to absorb the new tax.

3. Caterpillar—After laying off 19,000 workers and losing hundreds of millions in revenue, it didn’t appear things could get any worse for construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. All seemed to look a bit more optimistic when Obama specifically promised that his economic plan would help Caterpillar rehire many of its laid off employees. But now due to healthcare reform, Caterpillar predicted a new cost of $100 million, nipping any plans they had to hire more employees in the bud. In the words of their spokesman Jim Dugan, “Having an additional cost like this is not great timing.”

4. John Deere—Heavy equipment manufacturer John Deere was one of the first victims of Obama’s new healthcare legislation. The company said it will face an additional $150 million in increased costs for the year in order to comply with the new laws. This eliminates about 11 percent of the company’s profits for 2010.

For a company that already moved some manufacturing plants out of the country and cut hundreds of jobs, it’s hard to imagine how these new costs could spell new jobs. If anything, expect John Deere to cut more employees in the future to help soften the blow of this new legislation.

5. Prudential—Insurance company Prudential Financial said it has taken a $100 million charge because of Obamacare. A few months later, Prudential was laying off employees at certain offices, and there was talk of some of their jobs being outsourced. For now, the job cuts aren’t huge numbers (about 60 positions have been eliminated), but there is talk that more jobs may be outsourced in the future.

6. AT&T—Telecommunications giant AT&T announced it will take a $1 billion loss in the first quarter of 2010 because of healthcare changes from the Obama administration. This charge is the biggest announced to date, and it comes from a company that began 2010 by cutting jobs. Just recently, AT&T eliminated another 136 jobs in San Francisco. While this is credited to the dying landline business, it’s hard to imagine how AT&T could add any jobs in the face of the extra charges from Obamacare.

What do you think? Is the healthcare legislation really going to add millions of jobs? Or will it cost more jobs than it creates?