The election is over and another season of presidential politics has sadly come to an end. With the end of the season, though, are other consequences besides which of the two candidates we’ll be frequently seeing on television for the next four years, unless of course, Mr. Romney scores a place on “Dancing With the Stars.” One of the biggest consequences of the election is that the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, will be the law of the land.
My own personal complaint when it comes to Obamacare is that it doesn’t go far enough in reforming the healthcare system. Some businesspeople, however, have complained that the moderate insurance reforms and the rules in the law that force any business that has more than fifty employees to provide health insurance are a step too far, and they’re going to do whatever they can to avoid providing health coverage to their employees, including lay-0ffs and hiring freezes if necessary.
One such business owner is John Schnatter, better known as Papa John, who has said that the cost of providing healthcare to his employees would cost a whopping fourteen-cents per pizza. Other restaurants such as Applebee’s and Darden, which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden, have also said that they will cut staffing and freeze hiring to avoid paying healthcare costs. This is particularly disturbing to me in the case of Darden, Inc. I worked for Olive Garden back in 2008, and for Applebees throughout most of 2006 and 2007. The average server salary is only $2.13 per hour, which is why tipping is so important. On average, cooks and kitchen staff bring in about $8.00 per hour. Meanwhile, the corporations themselves bring in billions of dollars in profits each year.
It seems only right to me that if you have a business, chances are, you have had the help of your employees to thank for your success, at least to some degree. Don’t businesses, particularly large and profitable ones, owe basic necessities like living wages and healthcare coverage to their employees? Personally, it seems silly to me that we even had to have a law passed to make this happen. It seems, from where I stand anyway, that employers should go ahead and figure in things like healthcare costs as part of the cost of doing business from the outset.