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National Restaurant Association - Kentucky restaurateur testifies on health care

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Kentucky restaurateur testifies on health care

Restaurant owner Joe Bologna, who has operated Joe Bologna’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Lexington, Ky., for 40 years, told a U.S. House subpanel that he’s concerned the 2010 health care law will hurt restaurants’ ability to grow.

Bologna, who testified during an  Aug. 27 field hearing in Lexington, said he recently decided to close the restaurant on Mondays to avoid crossing the 50 full-time-equivalent employee threshold. Employers who average 50 or more FTE employees in 2014 will face penalties starting in 2015 if they fail to offer health insurance to employees that work an average of 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month.

He also told the subcommittee that the law’s economic impact could force many restaurants to raise their prices.

Bologna’s testimony drew coverage from CBS affiliate WKYT and the Kentucky Herald-Leader.  

Closing on Mondays will reduce the total number of full-time-equivalent employees at Joe Bologna’s from 54 to 46 or 47, Bologna told the subcommittee. “I’ve talked to plenty of customers about not being open on Mondays, and they say they can’t blame us for what we’re doing. Hopefully, if this changes, we’ll go back to opening on Monday.”

Bologna told the subcommittee that he has always paid for health coverage for full-time managers and paid 50 percent of health insurance costs for other full-time employees. However, no more than 10 employees have ever been enrolled in the plan at the same time, he said.

Bologna also said that he’s not sure many of his employees would want to pay the costs associated with employer-based coverage.”

Download the National Restaurant Association’s Health Care Law Primer for a comprehensive look at what the health care law means for restaurant operators.

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