ObamaCare is Hurting Business, General Electric Says; National Center for Public Policy Research Quizzed GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt at Company Shareholder Meeting Today

Immelt Says There is “A Lot of Uncertainty in Health Care”; Company CFO Blames Downturn in Company’s Health Care Division Directly on ObamaCare

National Center Also Asked GE to Institute a Conscience Guarantee in GE’s Code of Conduct Respecting an Employee’s Right to Engage in Legal Political and Civic Activities, in Light of Mozilla/Brendan Eich Situation

Chicago, IL – General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt today doubled-down on acknowledgements by his company that ObamaCare is hurting the business sector, saying in response to a question posed by the National Center for Public Policy Research, “there is still a lot of uncertainty in health care.”

Immelt’s statement followed a report by GE Senior Vice President and CFO Jeffrey S. Bornstein that a decline in the profitability of GE’s previously-solid health care division over the last two quarters came about because “Hospitals and clinics appear to be delaying purchases and responses to the Affordable Care Act.” Mr. Immelt also has referenced the health care market’s recent “volatility.”

“ObamaCare’s devastation is so far-reaching that it is now having a tangible, real-world negative effect on one of the world’s largest and most diversified companies,” said Justin Danhof, Esq., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project. “As CEO, Mr. Immelt has vast health care experience, yet even he cannot predict what the future of the Affordable Care Act will do to the country or his company.”

Danhof met one-on-one with Immelt before the shareholder meeting and also asked him two questions during the meeting itself, one on ObamaCare and the other on General Electric’s policy toward legal, personal, outside-of-work political activities in light of the firing of Brendan Eich from Mozilla over his civic activities.

Audio of Danhof’s question and Immelt’s answer is available here; Danhof’s question as prepared for delivery is available here.

“In light of the Mozilla situation, the National Center for Public Policy Research is urging companies to affirmatively guarantee their employees’ right to participate fully in legal civic activities according to their consciences without their jobs being affected,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center. “A review of General Electric’s Code of Conduct found no such explicit guarantee, but some wording showing that it may have been intended. We asked Mr. Immelt to make that guarantee explicit.”

Immelt declined to answer the Mozilla/Code of Conduct question today because he had not been aware of Brendan Eich’s firing or the issues raised by it prior to his private meeting with Justin Danhof today.

“I both met one-on-one with Mr. Immelt prior to the meeting and then asked him in front of the board of directors and the shareholders about the ouster of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. Despite being one of the largest news stories outside of the missing Malaysian jet, Mr. Immelt had not heard of Mozilla’s capitulation to narrow-minded activists. This highlights the importance of bringing public policy issues to corporate leaders who often do not have the time to acquaint themselves with issues outside of their business responsibilities. This is another reason the Free Enterprise Project’s work is so important,” said Danhof.

“We will be following up with General Electric on this point in coming days,” said Ridenour. “And with other companies as well.”

“And as for ObamaCare,” Ridenour continued, “Mr. Immelt’s comments and General Electric’s health care division’s recent experiences provide yet another solid reason to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with patient-centered reforms. It is a very bad sign for patients that hospitals and clinics are delaying or cancelling orders for medical equipment they otherwise would have made, if not for the passage of ObamaCare.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a General Electric shareholder and regularly attends the company’s shareholder meetings.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, three percent from foundations, and three percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

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The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.