NRN readers divided on health care ruling


After the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision last week to uphold President Barack Obama’s highly controversial health care law, Nation's Restaurant News polled its readers to find out what they thought about the ruling — and their responses were divided.

While the poll was informal and represents a very small portion of NRN readers, it still suggests that the restaurant industry's stance on the health care ruling isn't as unified as official reactions would suggest.

Since last week, restaurant industry organizations such as the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association and the National Council of Chain Restaurants were harmonious in expressing their concern and disappointment over the ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The law will particularly damage the chain restaurant industry, which operates on thin margins and cannot support costly government-imposed mandates," Rob Green, executive director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants, told NRN after the ruling was announced. "Many chains have indicated they will have no choice but to cut back on workers’ hours or close restaurants in order to avoid penalties.”

However, when NRN polled its readers last week through Twitter and Facebook, reactions to the ruling were much more diverse.

When asked if they agreed with the Supreme Court health care ruling, a combined 51 readers responded via the two social media websites. Slightly less than half of those respondents, or 49 percent, indicated that they did not agree with the decision. One third of them, or 33 percent, said that yes, they agree with decision, while 18 percent said they were unsure.

Beyond participating in social media polls, readers voiced their opinions by commenting on NRN online coverage of the Supreme Court health care ruling — and surprisingly, most of them were in favor of the ruling. Take a look at some of their responses:

"If the owners cannot afford to provide healthcare insurance, it is high time that they paid a wage that would allow their employees to buy their own coverage. In the end, it is less expensive for the employer to provide the coverage. They will catch on eventually."

"Shame on you. This article reads like a Republican talking point. The ability to offer affordable insurance to my employees will put me on a more even keel with my bigger competition, even if I'm not required to do so by the law."

"All employees having health coverage is a good thing for all... Singapore, one of the most capitalistic places in the world, has mandated health insurance for all and it's controlled by the government far more extreme than Obamacare."

"As an outsider looking in I understand why the restaurant industry would oppose a law requiring health insurance be provided to their full-time employees. Anything that costs is a negative.

"But, in the end, once the dust settles and everyone is in the same boat this is good for the millions who choose to work in the restaurant industry. If their employer was not providing insurance before and now will, then this employee will have a higher quality of life, and that is good. I suspect many do not have insurance at all and live under the continual fear of disaster when a health issue arises they can't pay for or properly address.

"If restaurants end up earning a bit less or have to raise their prices a bit to cover the new costs, so be it. Sometimes we are forced to make a change that is good for us, or in this case, their employees."

Contact Olivia LaBarre at
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