Business owners across America say they’re experiencing poor sales, holding back hiring, and planning layoffs because of “Obamacare,” or so says the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book (an overview of the business conditions in each of its 12 districts).
But in case you don’t trust the Beige Book’s anecdotal reporting, here’s something else to consider: Five Guys franchise holder Mike Ruffer said on Monday that the cost of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s landmark healthcare bill, will force him to raise the price of burgers and hot dogs, according to the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard.
“He will need all the profits from at least one of his eight outlets just to cover his estimated added $60,000-a year in new Obamacare costs,” Bedard’s report notes.
"Any added costs are going to have to be passed on," said Ruffer, who operates eight Five Guys in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area.
But wait! There’s more: Ruffer also said that he had to scrap plans to build three additional restaurants because he's still waiting for after the Obama administration to explain all the rules and penalties involved in the healthcare bill.
"I'm kind of in a holding pattern," said Ruffer, adding that he’s not the only franchise owner to hold back.
“Ruffer was the star witness at a Monday Heritage Foundation seminar on the impact Obamacare will have on small businesses,” Bedard notes. “He is typical of many: Because he has enough full time employees to activate the law, he faces either coughing up the money to provide health insurance or paying a fine of up to $3,000 per worker.”
The report goes on to explain that Ruffner thought he’d be exempt from “Obamacare” because he built each restaurant as its own company. However, the healthcare law doesn’t recognize this distinction -- so now he’s exploring whether laying off employees or cutting back hours will keep his franchise safe from “Obamacare.”
“He said that ‘scorched earth plan,’ however, would hurt his restaurants, so Ruffer is likely to either pay the fine or buy insurance,” the Washington Exmainer reports. “But spreading the costs over his basic menu of fries, drinks, burgers and hot dogs, could scare off customers, he worries. He said that the recent spike in gas prices cut into his profits since fewer people were stopping at his restaurants.”
"And the health care law isn't only going to hit Ruffer. He's quizzed his workers to ask if they understand that they will be fined if they don't get health insurance. Just one of 20 workers were aware of the $95 tax penalty that rises to $695 by 2016,” the report adds.
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