The ObamaCare waiver winners are now in
the same miserable boat as every other unlucky business struggling
with the crushing costs and burdens of the mandate.
Exactly two years ago this week, the Obama administration
announced it had issued more than 100 waivers en masse to a select
group of companies, unions and other health insurance providers
seeking relief from the onerous federal healthcare law. The
ObamaCare waiver winner's club now totals 2,000. Where are they
Answer: In the same miserable boat as every other unlucky
business struggling with the crushing costs and burdens of the
Among the first and most prominent recipients of the ObamaCare
waivers for favors were large restaurant chains that provide
low-wage, seasonal and part-time workers with low-cost health
insurance plans called "mini-med" plans. An estimated 1.7 million
workers benefit from such plans. ObamaCare forced companies
carrying such coverage to raise their minimum limits on coverage to
no less than $750,000 annually. Another ObamaCare provision forces
all employers to spend at least 80 percent to 85 percent of their
premium revenue on medical care.
The social justice Democrats' goal was to dictate insurance
provider spending not just on coverage amounts, but also on
executive salaries, marketing and other costs. The regulation
punished companies with mini-med plans whose high administrative
costs were due to frequent worker turnover and relatively low
spending on claims -- not "greed." Complying with the provision
would have meant tens of thousands of low-income workers would lose
their benefits altogether.
Darden Restaurants, the Florida-based parent company of Olive
Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and other chains, was a
member of the ObamaCare waiver early bird special. Their
get-out-of-ObamaCare card helped spare the company's health
insurance benefits for nearly 34,000 employees. Breathing a sigh of
relief that it would allow chains to continue offering all
employees access to affordable health insurance, Darden said in a
statement in the fall of 2010 that "the waiver allows us to
continue to do that as the various phases of the healthcare law are
Fast-forward to 2012. Darden announced last month that it would
begin shifting full-time workers to part-time status to save money,
cut health costs and circumvent ObamaCare's coverage mandate
scheduled for full implementation in 2014. The move would reduce
full-time employees' hours to less than 30 hours a week; part-time
workers are exempt from the insurance mandate. McDonald's, another
big ObamaCare waiver recipient, is considering the same move.
In fact, a survey of members of the Chain Restaurant
Compensation Association (CRCA) conducted last year by Hay Group
reported that a whopping 77 percent of "quick serve" restaurant
operators said they were considering reducing employee hours to
change their status from full-time to part-time. At least one
Denny's restaurant franchise owner in Florida is cutting hours and
has openly contemplated an ObamaCare surcharge. Jimmy John's and
Papa John's are also slashing work hours. Applebee's is mulling a
freeze on both hiring and expansion.
"There's no such thing as a free lunch" is a race-neutral truth.
But economically illiterate Obama supporters have now called for
boycotts of these businesses and accused them of vengeful "racism"
against the president. Instead of sympathy and gratitude for
private businesses trying to do right by their workers, customers
and shareholders, the corporate-bashers inundated Twitter this week
with profanity-laced condemnations of the restaurant service
industry. One protester tweeted: "@Applebees Your CEO is a racist
piece of (redacted), he not hiring because Obama was elected...U
WILL LOSE CUSTOMERS."
"Red Lobster, Olive Garden (are) using Obama re-election as an
excuse to deny employees benefits and living wages," Jon Marquis
Twitter user Daphine Walker sent unhinged, ungrammatical
messages to Red Lobster and Olive Garden in all-caps: "I WILL NEVER
SPEND ANOTHER CENT ON THIS RACIST COMPANY WHO DOESNT GIVE A D***
ABOUT THEIR EMPLOYEES."
The CEO of Red Lobster and Olive Garden is black. But no matter.
Regardless of the actual facts, economic realities and entirely
predictable and inevitable consequences of command-and-control
government mandates, it's always about identity politics for the
Obama grievance mob. In good times and bad, the left never grants
waivers from the race card.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM
Michelle Malkin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is author of "Culture
of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks &
Cronies" (Regnery 2010).
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