Donald Lambro

Their costs will jump significantly because the new law allows them to deduct only their own expenditures, minus the subsidies. The companies are taking charges now to reflect the higher taxes they will have to pay in 2013.

But business analysts say the health care plan's tax consequences will not stop here. Business could decide to cut their drug benefits, denying prescription drug coverage for up to 2 million retirees.

That could force many retirees into the Medicare Part D drug benefits program, where in some cases their prescription costs could be higher.

And it isn't just businesses who are reacting to the law's future impact. State governments are also bracing for huge additional costs at a time when their cash-strapped treasuries are running deeper into debt.

California, for example, has just announced that Obamacare will add between $2 billion to $3 billion a year to its mounting bills that will most likely be passed on to the state's beleaguered taxpayers.

But all of this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg to the costs that will be hitting businesses and individual taxpayers alike, providing Republican candidates with a powerful political issue in the midterm elections to come.

"Just hours after popping the champagne and patting themselves on the back for passing a trillion-dollar government health care plan that raises taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, reality is setting in for the Democrats," Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a memo to GOP Senate candidates last week.

Cornyn pointed to polls taken just after Obama's signing ceremony that showed "support for the health spending bill remains statistically unchanged since July."

Fifty percent of voters oppose Obamacare, and Democrats say it's going to hurt their party in November.

Here's what Democratic pollster Doug Schoen had to say last week to Politico.com: "It's pretty clear to me that public opinion is arrayed against the plan. And among swing voters, opinion is even more against the plan. I don't think there's any evidence it will be good politically, except for maybe some marginal impact firing up the base ... Them's the facts."

Now come those town hall gatherings with voters who packed meeting rooms last summer to rail against Obamacare. Only this time, in the heat of an election, they'll make last August look tame by comparison.

An indication of what the Democrats will be facing was on full view last week at several candidate forums in New Hampshire where Democratic Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes, who's running for the Senate, encountered angry receptions.

Shea-Porter "was booed and called a liar, and Paul Hodes couldn't get a senior citizen to shake his hand" at forums in Manchester, according to a front-page account in the Union Leader under the headline, "Health care reform proves tough sell."


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.