Companies already pushing to repeal O-Care charge

The association, the American Benefits Council, said the provision — which reduces the tax deductions for companies with drug coverage for their retired employees — would deal a significant blow to corporate profits and would discourage companies from hiring more workers.

AT&T announced last week that it was taking a $1 billion charge because of the provision. Deere & Company announced a $150 million charge, Caterpillar a $100 million charge, and 3M a $90 million charge.

Many companies said they were taking these charges now, before the current quarter ended, to comply with accounting rules. But some corporate critics asserted that the companies’ rapid response to the health legislation was aimed at pressing the administration to repeal the provision.