Restaurant associations praise move to repeal health care act


Restaurant association officials praised members of the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2-year-old health care law.

Lawmakers passed the “Repeal of ObamaCare Act,” H.R. 6079, by a vote of 244 to 185, largely along party lines although five Democrats broke ranks to side with the Republican majority.

This marks the 33rd time members of the House have voted to repeal all or part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The measure is not expected to advance in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority.

The vote comes soon after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in a narrow 5-4 ruling.

President Obama has said the law would seek to close gaps in health care insurance by expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

And while the president’s health care law has its supporters within the foodservice community, opponents believe it will have a damaging impact on business and force some operators that are still struggling in the fragile economic recovery to close their doors.

“On behalf of our members, we are pleased the House of Representatives has taken this step, which is in line with our view that given the unique issues that face the industry from a workforce standpoint, the economic impact of the employer mandate and the fines associated with it will impose insurmountable costs and administrative burdens for many in the industry,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive of the National Restaurant Association.

“Our industry wants health care reform and we will continue to actively participate in the health care reform debate, but we believe Congress must seek comprehensive health care reform that focuses first on lowering health care coverage costs and not on reform that hampers the ability of employers to create jobs,” Sweeney added.

Earlier this week, the NRA sent a letter to all House members informing them the association would consider votes on, or related to, H.R. 6079 in an annual “how they voted” scorecard.

On July 10, the National Council of Chain Restaurants also sent letters to members of the House expressing support for repeal. “Reform to our nation’s health care system is desperately needed, and NCCR has long advocated for changes that will bring about greater affordability for employers who provide and who wish to provide health benefits to their employees and improved access to affordable health insurance coverage,” wrote Robert Green, executive director of the NCCR. “Unfortunately, the ACA is not a realistic solution for the chain restaurant industry.”

Steve Caldeira, president and chief executive of the International Franchise Association, said that while the association was pleased the House voted to repeal the law, “the reality is until the make-up of Congress changes, franchise businesses are left with an unworkable and unaffordable employer mandate that will stifle franchisors and franchisees looking to expand by forcing them to choose between rising health care premiums or paying mandated penalties by not providing health insurance to their full-time workers.”

Contact Paul Frumkin at