Before we start cheering this a victory it should be noted that the reason the estimate has gone down 80 percent is because Wendy’s, Chipotle, Jack in the Box, and Popeye’s have all come to the conclusion that:
[M]any employees will decline company-offered insurance, either because they can get insurance through Medicaid or a family member, or because they prefer to pay the penalty for not having health insurance. The penalty next year will be as low as $95 next year, much less than most employees will be asked to pay through company-sponsored insurance plans.
Popeye’s President Ralph Bower states,
[F]ewer than 5% of employees have signed up for a plan that carries high deductibles and costs $2.50 a week…[it is not] expected that many more employees will enroll next year, when employees likely will have to pay about $25 a week for a plan offering more coverage.What bothers me most is that these employers do not understand what is going on at all. Employees do not want to pay the penalty—they would rather have health insurance. If the insurance is not affordable to the employees we have a fundamental problem that can be easily fixed. Pay your employees better wages. We live in the 21st century, and in this day and age affordable health care should be a right. Not something that only the wealthy can afford.
It's just not affordable for employees.
This is absolutely absurd. Wendy’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $22.4 million and they cannot pay their employees enough to pay for health insurance? Their revenue for all of 2012 was $2.51 billion. How in holy hell can these people sleep at night when the very people that make them this kind of money cannot afford to pay $100 a month for health insurance!
The health insurance is not so outrageously expensive; the problem is that these restaurant owners, franchisees, and stockholders don’t give a damn about the employees, they only care about their bottom line. If anyone ever questions why minimum wage needs to be raised—well, this is a pretty damn good example of why.