Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration announced Tuesday that nearly 2,000 businesses, labor unions and state and local governments have qualified for federal subsidies to offset the cost of providing their retirees and dependents with medical insurance, another early benefit of the new healthcare law.
Among those taking advantage of the program are more than half of the nation's Fortune 500 companies, many major unions and governmental bodies in every state, according to the administration.
Several states that are suing to overturn the healthcare law are among those that plan to seek the aid, including Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Nevada. All but Louisiana are represented by Republicans in the lawsuit challenging the law.
Democrats added the $5-billion program to the healthcare law to encourage employers to keep their insurance plans for retirees ages 55 to 64 until 2014, when the law will guarantee that all Americans can buy insurance.