Small Businesses Try To Slime Out of Obamacare

Romney can’t stop telling anyone who will listen that Obamacare — the health care policy that Romney pioneered — will prevent small businesses from hiring. The new law requires small businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health care insurance or pay a penalty and Romney and his fellow Republicans contend that small businesses will fire workers or decrease workers to part-time status rather than expand their businesses to make more money for fear of incurring a penalty.

This fear is overblown. Many states (including, for instance, Massachusetts since Romney) already require small businesses to provide health care if they employ over 50 employees. Indeed, 95% of small businesses with 50 or more employees already offer health insurance. Not really the crisis that Romney pitches.

The exceptional companies threatening to scale-back their business to avoid their obligations to employees have taken to the media with their sob stories. I think they believe they are expressing serious concerns. Instead they come across as self-absorbed bullies scrambling to with legal tactics to throw employees under the bus in order to keep more profits at the margins, all while sticking the average American with the tab in the form of higher premiums to help cover the employees struggling without insurance. In short, these business owners want all of us to pay so they can skim an extra couple grand on top of their half million per year incomes.

Kari DePhillips, who co-owns the Content Factory, a public relations firm in Pittsburgh, was hoping she could just break up the company to sidestep the [50 employees] rule. Maybe one firm would do marketing while the other builds websites.

As a lawyer myself, I feel fully justified in pointing out slimy legal maneuvering. This is slimy legal maneuvering. The article goes on to point out that Ms. DePhillips, upon learning that she could not sidestep the rule by splitting up her company, tried to create a whole new company and transfer assets into that group. This also will not work, but it speaks to the sense of reckless entitlement of these owners. After years of taking advantage of their employees and the rest of the health insurance premium paying public, the bill has come due and rather than accept that they have been free riding they are raging against the law to keep skimming their extra profit.

That’s the reality for the 425 workers at David Barr’s nearly two dozen KFCs and Taco Bells across Alabama and Georgia. Barr has already done the math.

He currently provides health care for managerial staff only, and it costs him about $125,000 to cover the 30 who take it. Extending that to every full-timer would cost him another $545,782 a year.

…To minimize expenses, he’ll fire workers and cut hours to reduce the number of full-timers to 60. Then he’ll opt for the penalty instead of paying insurance. A $60,000 fine pales in comparison to the huge potential rise in health care costs.

He has 425 employees and wants to slash that down to 60 full-timers?!? Either most of them are part-timers already or he’s prepared to cripple his own companies in order to avoid doing anything for his employees.

“We have a responsibility to provide a good position that allows people a sense of pride in their work,” Barr said. “And I’d rather provide that for many than provide health care for few.”

This is a dick statement. First of all, he already “provides health care for a few” and he’s throwing a hissy fit over the idea of providing health insurance for all his employees. If he really thinks health care is such an unnecessary extravagance then why does he offer it as the plum benefit to his managers? He knows health insurance is important for all his employees and simply doesn’t care.

And “a good position that allows people a sense of pride in their work?” You know what provides people a good position? Knowing they won’t go bankrupt when they go sick. And with the average KFC and Taco Bell franchise clearing around $100K per year, Barr is making around $2.4 million on 24 franchises and is balking at spending about half a million that he only has because he’s been able to shortchange his employees for years. He says that his business model can’t support that hit. I say he’ll do just fine making $1.9 million every year.

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