The federal government has grown so gargantuan, all-encompassing, and self-contradictory that one must break the law in order to obey it. The CEOs of Honeywell International, Inc. and two smaller companies are learning this lesson the hard way.
These firms are complying with Obamacare, which lets them offer wellness programs to their employees. These activities help workers lose weight, quit smoking, receive regular checkups, and otherwise become healthier. As an incentive, Obamacare offers participating employees as much as a 50 percent reduction in out-of-pocket medical expenses. Workers who avoid such programs, however, could face resulting surcharges of up to $4,000.
The comically titled “Affordable Care Act” requires that employees in these programs undergo medical tests to qualify for lower premiums. Unfortunately, such exams violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. In short, the ADA is allergic to the ACA.
So, in a truly staggering plot twist, Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued New Jersey–based Honeywell, as well as Orion Energy Systems and Flambeau. The latter two enterprises are headquartered in Wisconsin. These companies’ efforts to follow Obamacare have landed them in federal court. In Obama’s America, even cooperative companies face federal wrath.
“The fact that the EEOC sued is shocking to our members,” Business Roundtable vice president Maria Ghazal told Reuters, which broke this story. “They don’t understand why a plan in compliance with the ACA is the target of a lawsuit. . . . This is a major issue to our members.”
In a November 14 letter to Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell, Treasury secretary Jack Lew, and Labor secretary Thomas Perez, Business Roundtable president John Engler wrote, “If employers believe that complying with the letter of the law can still result in enforcement actions, it will send a chilling effect across the country.” The former three-term GOP governor of Michigan added: “It is a shameful day when well-intentioned and well-informed reliance on regulations, driven by the good will of employers to offer positive, innovative programs to their employees, can result in litigation.”
Honeywell and others in the Business Roundtable have been shocked and awed by both Obamacare and Obama’s vindictiveness toward even companies that submit to his $2.6 trillion pet “reform.” These major corporations, many of which supported Obamacare, should leap out of bed with Obama and join the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with sensible, patient-centered, limited-government health-care policies. CEOs should be able to live under a legal code that does not turn them into criminals for being law-abiding corporate citizens.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.