Food service industry advocates have long opposed the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) since its passage in 2010.
Among those the National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest and most vocal opponent of the law, in particular the provision of the bill that requires employers with 50 or more full time equivalent employees to provide health insurance or pay a penalty.
Despite this unified opposition from industry leaders like the NRA, the food service community is a pretty diverse place, and as The Back Burner discovered in its own survey last week, opinions about the health care law are just as varied.
As you can see above, only a slight majority of restaurateurs believe the law is harmful to their business and the industry as a whole – despite the solid opposition from organizations like the NRA – although it is fair to say that more people are solidly against the plan than are for it.
Those who oppose the law cite the “employer mandate” – the requirement to provide health care to employees for “large” (50 or more employees) businesses – as the primary reason for their opposition. Many are also concerned that the mandate will slow hiring and therefore hurt the economic recovery.
Those for the Affordable Health Care Act were more circumspect about the implications of its provisions. Overall they pointed out benefits like better employee retention, reduced sick employees on the job, and lower health care costs over time.
Most surprising, however, was how many respondents to Tundra’s survey were unsure exactly how the new law would affect the food service industry – positively or negatively.
And that drives right to the heart of how the health care law is playing out across the country as a whole – most people don’t know exactly how the law is going to affect them, even though most are either firmly in favor or opposed to the law.
And in Tundra’s survey it was also clear that most respondents simply wanted to learn more about the law, regardless of how they felt about its passage. Check out the graphic below:
At this point it looks like the Affordable Health Care Act will stand as passed and that means full implementation is coming in 2014 – that is, unless there are some major shifts in the Senate towards the Republican Party in November.
Either way it is time for restaurant owners to start evaluating how the law will affect their business and then take action to start moving towards compliance.
The National Restaurant Association, despite their stolid opposition to the bill itself, has done a really good job of collecting all the resources and information restaurateurs need to comply with the provisions of the bill.