National Restaurant Association Top of Mind: Health Care Headaches

Source NRN:

Members of the foodservice industry have long acknowledged the need for more reasonably priced health insurance, but many insist the government’s looming Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will cause widespread damage to restaurant businesses.

The PPACA, which was signed into law in 2010 and largely takes effect in 2014, places an unwieldy financial burden on individual employers, critics maintain.

“The health care law is just devastating to our members,” said Judith Thorman, senior vice president of government relations and public policy for the International Franchise Association in Washington, D.C. “[We estimate] the loss of over 3.2 million jobs among our membership because of the law. The cost of an employer providing health care is going to be tremendous.” 

One of the chief complaints the IFA has with the law is that its cutoff threshold — the PPACA applies to businesses with 50 or more employees — is too low. As a result, it unfairly targets too many small-business owners, including franchisees, Thorman said.

The IFA also has issues with the PPACA’s definition of a full-time employee, which it classifies as someone who works at least 30 hours each week, a number that is seven to 10 hours shorter than current industry standards, she said.

“It’s very rigid,” she said of the law. “There’s not much flexibility for employers.”

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