There have been several stories, since President Obama was re-elected, of poor loser CEO’s either firing or reducing hours of employees because of the upcoming tax changes brought on by “Obamacare” (aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The problem with their view is the changes coming due to “Obamacare” didn’t have to happen. There was a call for single payer and even a public option which would have eliminated or reduced the impact on employers but the Republicans refused to allow it. The blame for any “Obamacare layoffs” is really the fault of the Republicans not President Obama.
I wrote about this issue previously when the founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, John Schnatter complained about “Obamacare” in August:
The founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, John Schnatter said during a shareholders conference call last week that if the Affordable Care Act wasn’t repealed it would add up to 14 cents onto the cost of a pizza. It’s good too know that Papa John thinks 14 cents is far more important than affordable health care for his minimum wage workers.
Now he has gone further and given us the Scrooge playbook that I feel many whiny CEO’s will use to avoid giving their employees health insurance:
As the pizza mogul announces he will reduce worker hours in light of Obama’s re-election, a wave of outrage has erupted online, with some calling for a boycott (though there are a few tweets in support). Schnatter says it’s because Obamacare mandates employees working more than 30 hours a week must be covered by their employer’s health insurance plan, so he will have to drop many worker hours to below that. “That’s what you do, is you pass on costs,” he said, pointing also to his August increase of pizza prices by 11 to 14 cents.
The problem with the actions of people like Schnatter is the blame is misplaced. President Obama had wanted a public option where the government would operate the health plans and the cost to businesses would be reduced or eliminated.
Guess who was against shifting the costs to the tax payers instead of the “job creators”?
“I think Republicans should stand firm on their principles that injecting more government control into our health care system is wrong,” he told Foxnews.com. If they cave, Stanzel said, “They essentially have to go silent on what the impacts of that public option could be” in the run-up to the next election.
If they were inclined, Republicans would have a buffet of government-run options to pick from. One version, popular among Reid and other senators, would allow states to opt out if they wanted. Another version would allow states to opt in. Another version would provide for a “trigger” to activate the public option if the private insurance industry doesn’t meet certain conditions down the road.
In terms of payment, one proposal would set up a public plan that would use “negotiated” rates just like private plans do — an option expected to come with middle-of-the road premiums for consumers and therefore make less of a dent on the private industry’s client pool. This would be more moderate than the idea pushed by congressional liberals to use Medicare rates, plus five percent for doctors — this would lead to considerably cheaper premiums and could cause millions more people to leave private coverage.
But Republicans, for the most part, say they have no interest in pushing for any of the above, even if their support could help push Congress toward a less robust version. Consider that all but one Republican on the Senate Finance Committee opposed a bill that didn’t even include a public option — it included a system of nonprofit cooperatives instead.
With a public option, cheap skates like Papa John could force their low wage employees to the federal plans which would reduce their health care insurance costs. The compromise, an effort to appease the GOP even if they refused to vote for it, became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act we all know and love today.
Had the Republicans worked with the Democrats we might have at least a public option today and Schnatter could keep his 14 cents per pie he feels more important than the health and well-being of his employees.