NEW YORK U.S. aluminum
companies are taking a hard look at President Obamas
health-care reform following his re-election.
Executives will meet in upcoming
weeks to discuss the impact, one producer source said. "We
talked about it when it was first introduced but not in the
last (few) days now that it looks like its here to stay.
Im sure well discuss it within the next two
"Weve sealed our fate
there, so to speak. Were going to go back and look at
exactly what were dealing with," an extruder source said.
"Im concerned. Will companies continue to pay for health
care? Or will the government? These are questions we need
Producers are keen to know what
the health-care plans will look like, what the benefits are and
how they will be implemented, with most sources telling
AMM that they believe companies health-care
costs will increase.
"We got some advice about four
or five weeks ago. The impact of the reform will increase our
health-care costs by 29 percent as its implemented
through 2014," a second producer source said. "That feedback
came directly from our (insurance) carrier."
Companies have the option to
drop coverage, but some say they will keep offering health-care
benefits in order to attract employees.
"We could drop the coverage if
we wanted to but I dont think we will. We still have to
offer something. Smaller companies might be forced to drop
coverage, though," the first producer source said. "It would
give me the opportunity to save money, sure, but it would also
hurt my employees. Right now, they have a better policy than
going through the state."
In addition to increasing costs,
implementing such a scheme will undoubtedly take years, which
could hurt productivity, another extruder source said. "On a
day-to-day basis, Id rather be selling extrusions. Having
a change like this requires commitment, energy and resources on
our part thats not going to help our business."
Still, not everyone in the
industry is opposed to Obamacare. A service center source said
that the reform eventually will lower companies
"Im hoping that through
Obamacare, rates for mid-size companies will go down as
competition increases for our (insurance) business," he said.
"Right now, in Alabama theres only one registered
provider. But under Obamacare, the whole country opens up.
Its clear that in order for insurance companies to
maintain their market shares or even grow, theyre going
to have to get more competitive. And the gravy days of no
competition and raising rates will disappear."
He added, "Besides addressing
the uninsured, the whole master plan is to bring down the cost