Republicans blast Democrats for questioning companies' health care costs

Waxman wrote letters to Verizon, AT&T, Deere & Co., Caterpillar asking for financial documents and e-mails, including analyses on the projected effects of the law, and some cases, accounting methods of the subsidy for retiree drug coverage and its deductibility or non-deductibility. 

Other Republicans have said Waxman is using "intimidation" to silence opponents of the new law. 

In a regulatory filing, AT&T estimated $1 billion in costs because the company won't be able to deduct a subsidy it receives from the federal government for healthcare costs for retirees. John Deere expects expenses to rise by about $150 million on an after-tax basis, mainly in the second quarter. Caterpillar said its first-quarter earnings could take a $100 million after-tax charge. Verizon said its costs would go up in the near-term because of the subsidy reduction on retiree benefits.  

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) whose life has been threatened since he voted "yes" vote on the health reform bill. The hearing is set for April 21.

For more information and letters to the companies, click here.