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Obamacare to put White Castle out of business?

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say it ain't so.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2010/07/ohio_hamburger_chain_says_insu.html

 

Ohio hamburger chain says insurance reform will bite into profits

 

Published: Sunday, July 04, 2010, 6:00 AM

Sabrina Eaton, The Plain Dealer

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The White Castle hamburger chain fears that a health insurance reform law adopted earlier this year will put its profits on a downward slide.

 

The Columbus-based family owned restaurant chain - known for serving small square hamburgers called "sliders", says a single provision in the bill will eat up roughly 55 percent of its yearly net income after 2014.

 

Starting that year, the bill levies a $3,000-per-employee penalty on companies whose workers pay more than 9.5 percent of household income in premiums for company-provided insurance.

 

White Castle, which currently provides insurance to all of its full-time workers and picks up 70 to 89 percent of their premium costs, believes it will likely end up paying those penalties. The financial hit will make it hard for the company to maintain its 421 restaurants, let alone create new jobs, says company spokesman Jamie Richardson. White Castle employs more than 10,000 people nationwide, and more than 1,200 in Ohio.

 

Though advocates of the health insurance bill say its reforms will boost employment, House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, a vocal foe of the changes, says White Castle's analysis shows how the law's "job-crushing" impact will be most severe in lower-income areas, where jobs like those at White Castle are most needed.

 

"The irony is that in the name of expanding health care coverage, the administration is making it harder than ever for unskilled workers to get started in the workforce," Boehner said in a missive on White Castle's plight.

 

Boehner's predictions don't mesh with White House Council of Economic Advisors estimates that health care reform will create 320,000 jobs in upcoming years. The White House has said employees at larger companies aren't likely to notice any difference in their insurance coverage, and that changes in the bill will particularly help small businesses by driving down their premium costs and making it easier for them to insure workers.

 

"While opponents of reform have raised concerns that some of the provisions in the President's proposal will harm small businesses and their employees, the facts, figures, and discussion below show that the proposal will mean tax cuts, no new requirements, and numerous other benefits," said a blog posting from the group's chair, Christina Romer, and its senior economist, Mark Duggan.

 

That's not how the National Council of Chain Restaurants sees it. Restaurant group vice president Scott Vinson says the entire restaurant industry will have trouble dealing with costs the bill imposes in 2014, including a $2,000-per-worker penalty that companies with more than 50 employees must pay if their workers end up purchasing federally subsidized insurance rather than getting insurance from their employers.

 

"There is the expense of actually providing the insurance, then the expense of not providing insurance," says Vinson. "It will be expensive either way."

 

George Ebinger of New Jersey, who owns several International House of Pancakes restaurants, says the penalties for not insuring his 140 workers will cost roughly half as much as insuring them. He figures he will have to raise prices and possibly lay off workers to come up with the $220,000 he anticipates the penalties will cost.

 

"We are still figuring out how to deal with this," says Ebinger. "Ultimately, either businesses will close or consumers will pay more."

 

Problems will be felt throughout the retail industry, which employs many entry-level workers, says National Retail Federation vice president Neil Trautwein. He says employers will face tough choices when the mandates become effective in 2014.

 

"We do worry about this discouraging employment, particularly when employment hasn't taken off," says Trautwein.

 

But White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle says 97 percent of the nation's companies won't pay any penalties under the new law.

 

"The principle underlying this bill is: if you don't offer coverage and you have workers who the taxpayers are supporting to get their coverage, than you must make a relatively small contribution," says DeParle. "I understand that they don't like it and believe it will cut into their profits, but it is a relatively small contribution to defray costs to taxpayers."

 

Steven Kreisberg of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, questions White Castle's calculations. His union represents food service workers in Ohio public schools and other institutions.

 

He figures many of the White Castle workers who would end up paying a significant amount of their income for premiums would opt to buy less expensive coverage from a federal exchange.

 

"Let's not forget that since the worker is declining their coverage, they don't have to pay insurance for that worker," says Kreisberg, the union's health care policy director. "So they would be saving money at the same time as they are paying the penalty."

 

White Castle recognizes it won't continue paying health insurance bills for workers who buy insurance on the federal exchange, but Richardson says the company predicts its insurance costs would still rise because its healthiest young employees, who make the least money, would be most likely to transfer to the federal program. An exodus of healthy workers from the company's insurance plan would drive up costs for those who remain, the company forecasts.

 

White Castle, which began offering health insurance to workers in 1924, is also examining whether it would make financial sense for the company to eliminate health insurance coverage altogether and have all its employees buy insurance on the federal exchange, says Richardson.

 

"It would be incongruent with how we run our business, but we have to think that through," says Richardson. "No matter what, we will do what's best for our team members."

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Are you saying that that the laws of math, economics, business, and common sense are NOT going to be suspended even though Obama promised they would?

This is a BIGSURPRIZE!!!

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And as we can see right here on SOL there are people that still support him.

You think these people are your friends? Your neighbors that have that Obama sticker still on the car? You damn well better thing again.

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let's take a closer look at this. Even with White Castle picking up 70-89% of the premiums, employess still need to spend more than 10% of thier income on balance of the premiums.

 

My guess is that if White Castle switched to high deductible plan with a corrersponding HRA (health reimbursement account), they could be in compliance and likely save themselves a good buck and maintain if not improve the health coverage.

 

I would bet that there are a number of carriers running the numbers and asking for appointments with their HR department.

 

Of course I am only speculating here, but a young work force is prime for the cost savings from this type of strategy and the savings can be huge.

 

 

On the other hand, it is telling about the cost of healthcare that basic healthcare insurance can account for such a huge portion of a family's income.

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View Postlet's take a closer look at this. Even with White Castle picking up 70-89% of the premiums, employess still need to spend more than 10% of thier income on balance of the premiums.

 

My guess is that if White Castle switched to high deductible plan with a corrersponding HRA (health reimbursement account), they could be in compliance and likely save themselves a good buck and maintain if not improve the health coverage.

 

I would bet that there are a number of carriers running the numbers and asking for appointments with their HR department.

 

Of course I am only speculating here, but a young work force is prime for the cost savings from this type of strategy and the savings can be huge.

 

 

On the other hand, it is telling about the cost of healthcare that basic healthcare insurance can account for such a huge portion of a family's income.

 

What?

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View PostWhat?

 

 

 

you are getting a small piece of information about White Castle

 

 

my guess is that if they switch plans, go with a high deductible and move the savings into HRAs, they will actually reduce their healthcosts and meet the 2014 rules.

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View Postyou are getting a small piece of information about White Castle

 

 

my guess is that if they switch plans, go with a high deductible and move the savings into HRAs, they will actually reduce their healthcosts and meet the 2014 rules.

 

See I don't understand why the Federal Government can claim the moral authority/ legal ability to force the company to do any of that. Can you?

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