Shut up, he explained

In its battle to nationalize health care the Obama administration has done its best to buy off or silence big business. Taking a lesson from the defeat of Hillarycare, the Obama administration has sought to preempt the return of Harry and Louise. This time around, Harry and Louise have returned, but now they support nationalized medicine. Funny how that works.
As part of a backroom deal with the White House this past summer the drug industry agreed to “contribute $80 billion over 10 years to the cost of the health care overhaul” and authorized its lobbyists to spend as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting Obamacare. The insurance industry has likewise been pumping millions of dollars into advertising campaigns pushing the Obamacare agenda.
The union of big government and big business should set off alarm bells. The mancrush between GE chief executive officer Jeffrey Immelt and Barack Obama deserves a screaming siren unto itself. GE Capital has reaped what Immelt has sown, while taxpayers have footed the bill. Again, funny how that works. With a few exceptions (such as former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich), the left seems to like the romance between big government and big business just fine.
3M is one corporate giant that is not yet fully on board with the program of nationalized health care on the table in the bills pending before Congress. It recently spelled out its qualms and invited employees to contact their representatives on the subject. Here in its entirety is the email message it sent to 3M employees (the internal links are dead):

To: All U.S.-based 3M Employees:
Subject: ACT NOW: 3M Call-to-Action on Health Care Reform
As you probably know, health care reform is one of the top issues facing our nation. Congress and the Administration are currently debating how best to address concerns such as the uninsured, rising costs and the quality of medical care provided to Americans. No doubt you have seen recent news reports that the U.S. House of Representatives passed its health care reform bill. With passage of a House bill, focus has now shifted to the U.S. Senate: reports indicate they will likely begin debating health care reform legislation immediately.
Now is a pivotal time to provide input to U.S. Senators as they review the legislation and decide how to vote on it. 3M has shared its thoughts on health care legislation with dozens of Members of Congress engaged in the reform process. While these comments are welcomed, U.S. Senators also appreciate hearing from constituents directly about how these issues will impact them individually.
In an effort to assist you, I am including a document that outlines 3M’s position on the issue of health care reform, its potential impact on employees, and the concerns we believe the U.S. Senate must address before we can endorse their work product.
The latest edition of “Government Compass” newsletter articulates 3M’s concerns as the health care reform debate continues to unfold. Included is a concise explanation of why the health care benefits of 3Mers are at risk under legislation currently moving through the U.S. Congress. Finally, the newsletter summarizes actions 3M believes Congress must take to ensure the health care benefits of our employees, retirees and their dependents are not harmed.
Click on link to view the “Government Compass” health care newsletter” >> Link
As I’ve highlighted, 3M believes reform is an important goal. However – and this is a critically important caveat – legislation should not compromise 3M’s ability to continue providing the benefits that are today enjoyed by more than 110,000 individuals, including 3M employees, retirees and their dependents. Nor should the reforms increase 3M’s net cost of providing coverage for our employees, retirees and their dependents, whether by virtue of increased cost shift from government plans to private plans or by additional taxation on the health care benefits 3M provides or the medical products we sell.
That is why we believe now is the time for 3Mers to actively participate in the debate. We invite you to communicate with your respective U.S. Senators and express your thoughts. We have included draft language – which can be found in the following link – to help you prepare an e-mail to your two Senators. However, you should feel free to modify this prepared statement or write a totally new message of your own.
Click here to quickly generate automated e-mails to your U.S. senators.
Providing for an even better health care system in America is an admirable goal and one which 3M supports. Such a goal, however, should not be achieved by harming currently existing health care plans like 3M’s.
I hope you will consider contacting your U.S. Senators. And, thank you for your interest in this vitally important issue.
Best regards,
Angela S. Lalor
Senior Vice President
3M Human Resources
PS: If you have questions or comments you’d like to share, please send them to the Public Affairs mailbox which can be found in the “reply to” section of this note.

3M is a Minnesota-based company with headquarters in suburban St. Paul. In today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune Nick Coleman castigates 3M for opposing Obamacare and for inviting its employees to express their views to their representatives. Coleman does not take issue with the facts asserted in 3M’s message or in the related one-page Government Compass newsletter on Obamacare. He asserts only that their accuracy “is debatable.” What’s the problem with that? “There has been no debate.”
Good God, man, where have you been? Don’t you read the newspapers?
Coleman suggests that 3M employees need to take a few days off to study the bills pending before Congress. The whole darn thing is just so complicated. And it’s apparently not for Coleman to clear things up. He is content to put up for debate “the responsibility and obligations of Fortune 500 companies in helping make basic health care available and affordable to all.” What a contribution to public discourse.
On Friday I spoke with 3M spokesman Jacqueline Berry (quoted in Coleman’s column) about 3M’s communication with employees on Obamacare. Berry expressed great confidence in the ability of 3M’s workforce to understand the issues. Indeed, 3M is a company that runs on the work of scientists and engineers. It must have one of the smartest and most highly educated workforces in the country.
In any event, Coleman declines to debate 3M’s views as stated either in the message or the related Government Compass newsletter. Rather, he invites the company to shut up. Like the drug industry, you might say, Coleman has climbed on board with the Obama administration, but without the industry’s incentive or excuse.

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