Thursday, August 16, 2012

Papa Johns CEO warns Obamacare will ruin country by raising pizza prices 11 cents

Papa Johns’ CEO John Schnatter made headlines when Politico reported he’d warned on a conference call last week that Obamacare could impact pizza prices nationwide in a crisis I personally can’t help from calling a pizza-pocalypse:

“Our best estimate is that the Obamacare will cost 11 to 14 cents per pizza,” Schnatter said, “or 15 to 20 cents per order from a corporate basis.”

For this reason, he’s strongly supporting Mitt Romney for president. So that his 6,500 employees can remain uninsured, so that you, fast-food pizza lovers of America, will not have to pay an extra 11¢ for your pizzas.

“We’re not supportive of Obamacare, like most businesses in our industry,” Schnatter said, “but our business model and unit economics are about as ideal as you can get for a food company to absorb Obamacare.” He noted “If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers.”

In other words, if we have to have these plebeians insured, they’ll just make up for it by passing along the incredible burden do you at the cost of 11¢ per pizza, and their business will be fine. Except HuffPo reports Judy Nichols, owner of a Texas Papa Johns franchise, isn’t so sure. Expressing anxiety about opening more restaurants and increasing payroll over the 50-strong count that would mandate employers provide healthcare, she said:

“I have two options, I can stop offering coverage and pay the $2,000 fine, or I could keep my number of staff under 50 so the mandate doesn’t apply.” Or ........... she has a third option: She can raise her prices by 11  cents a pizza so that Debbie in shipping doesn’t die of cancer. But nah, that’s apparently

unthinkable. “Obamacare is making me think about cutting jobs instead,” she said.

Seriously—wouldn’t we all be happy to pay an extra 11 cents a pizza to be free of the worry that if we fall off our bike or trip going downstairs we could end up $50,000 in debt? Or for those of us who already insured, to be free of the worry that if you change jobs and get a new insurance company, that they won’t cover the treatment you’ve been receiving because it counts as a “pre-existing condition”?

Would tacking 11 cents onto the pizzas be worth such freedom? I’m guessing to almost everyone except Schnatter, the answer is yes.

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