As President Obama heads into the final year of his presidency, the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, is on life support. At least, that’s what many of Obamacare’s critics want the public to believe. But conservative politicians aren’t the only ones pushing back against Obamacare.
On Tuesday, December 2, New York City pizza joint Franny’s announced that they were adding a 3% surcharge on all bills, to offset their reported $200,000 Obamacare bill. Although co-owner Francine Stephens said they were also raising prices to give employees raises, and that they were not protesting Obamacare itself, that’s how many of the pizza shop’s customers interpreted the move.
And so, just 90 minutes after the policy went into effect, Franny’s owners rescinded the policy, instead opting to incorporate the surcharge into higher menu prices. Americans take their pizza seriously, and that’s especially true in New York. The average person eats 46 slices of pizza a year, and that 3% pizza surcharge would quickly add up. If other businesses start adding surcharges, consumers would pay the price.
“Clearly our intent was misunderstood and our guests have made it clear that they would prefer to see higher prices as opposed to a surcharge,” the owners wrote in a statement. “Initially, we thought, before we start putting $22 pizza on the menu, let’s be transparent about what that money is actually going towards.”
When it passed after a vicious legislative battle, Obamacare was considered a major legislative victory for the young president Obama. But like the owners of Franny’s pizzeria, many American companies are frustrated with the law.
In recent months, the law has hit major roadblocks. UnitedHealthcare, one of the nation’s biggest insurance companies, is threatening to stop participating in healthcare exchanges. The successful exchange in Kentucky could soon close, and nationwide enrollment numbers have fallen short of projections.
Still, some analysts say it’s too soon to put Obamacare on life support.
“Calls for the demise of ACA/Exchanges may be premature, which should bode well for managed care and hospitals longer-term,” said Citi bank’s Ralph Giacobbe. “Given our analysis, we believe it is premature to write off this end market and believe potential for longer-term growth still exists.”