The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest company to announce health benefit changes in response to the new health care law:
3M Co. confirmed it would eventually stop offering its health-insurance plan to retirees, citing the federal health overhaul as a factor.
The changes won't start to phase in until 2013. But they show how companies are beginning to respond to the new law, which should make it easier for people in their 50s and early-60s to find affordable policies on their own. While thousands of employers are tapping new funds from the law to keep retiree plans, 3M illustrates that others may not opt to retain such plans over the next few years.
The key point to remember when reading stories like these isn't that benefit changes are necessarily good or bad. Instead, it's that, despite the Obama administration's repeated promises to the contrary, many people and employers will not, in fact, be able to stick with their current health care plans and arrangements. The folks in the White House had to sell the public—a large majority of whom were actually pretty happy with their existing health insurance—on the virtues of their plan while promising that it wouldn't upset existing arrangements that people liked. That was obvious nonsense before the law passed, and now we're seeing regular evidence that yes, massive policy changes have consequences, many of them unintended.