Andy Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants. This company brings you Hardees, Carl’s Jr, Green Burrito, and Red Burrito. He had an article published in the Wall Street Journal about how his employees “shunned Obamacare“. He couldn’t be more wrong.
Of my company’s 5,453 eligible employees, only 420 actually enrolled. The other 5,033 opted to pay a penalty.
That is how the article starts. He has 5,453 employees who could sign up for “Obamacare” (a ridiculous statement in and of itself) and only 420 actually did. So what does he mean. What is he trying to say with the meaningless statement that only 420 of his employees “signed up for Obamacare”? In reality he later goes on and states that they signed up for Obamacare compliant coverage, a better explanation, but potentially dishonest.
But first let’s talk about who these employees are. Puzder states:
Among the Affordable Care Act’s many economic and political disruptions, the law has unintentionally encouraged employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. ObamaCare mandates that employers offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty up to $3,000 an employee. But employers have no such obligation for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, making part-time employment less costly.
Let’s get this perfectly clear. The law does not “encourage” employers to only hire part time employees. The employers make the decision themselves to only hire part time employees to avoid having to either pay a per employee penalty or to cover their insurance. An employer that could hire X employees at full time but instead chooses to employ 2 times the employees at half the hours is not doing so because the law encouraged them to do so. They are doing so because they are cheap bastards who base their business decisions on greed. They do not wish to provide for the persons helping them make their profit. They want to pay out as little as possible and are using government regulations as an excuse to do so. They could hire these employees at full time and give them quality health insurance to make sure they can remain productive employees. However, they choose to do otherwise. That is their choice and no responsibility rests of government otherwise.
The last open-enrollment date for our company, CKE Restaurant Holdings, Inc., was Dec. 4, 2014. As of that date, our company had approximately 20,000 employees, 6,900 of whom worked 30 or more hours a week and were eligible for ObamaCare-compliant health insurance.
So 13,000 of their employees are part time who do not get a full time wage. Nice.
Of the 6,900 eligible employees, 1,447 already had ObamaCare-compliant insurance through our pre-existing company plans. That left 5,453 employees eligible to sign up. A grand total of 420 actually enrolled. That’s a mere 2% of total employees, or 6% of eligible employees.
What Puzder fails to do is give us is information on those other employees who were eligible. How many of the 5,033 employees who chose to not sign up have a spouse with coverage through his/her company? How many of them live in states where the medicaid expansion was accepted and because of their low wages qualify them for Medicaid which has no premium requirements. How many of them simply qualify for Medicaid without the expansion. How many of them are under 28 and have parental insurance? He ignores such possibilities and suggests that it all must be because they are “rejecting Obamacare”. If an employee obtained a Medicaid policy that would mean the employee accepted a policy that is Obamacare compliant and as such would not have rejected Obamacare at all.
But look at the numbers. His company hires 65.5% of its employees at the part time level and as such avoids the decision to provide health insurance or to pay the $3,000 per head penalty for them. He likely knows that by making that decision those employees will likely be obtaining some sort of needs based health coverage like Medicaid. So in reality, it is likely that at least 75% of his company has some form of Obamacare compliant coverage and the rest of them may very well have that coverage as well via Medicaid, spousal, or parental coverage. But he wont give us that information. So not only is he a cheapskate (for running his company in such a way that almost 2/3 of his company are part time employees) but he is misleading at best and a liar at worse for leaving out the other vital information that would give us a clearer picture of how many actual employees of his are not covered by an Obamacare compliant plan.
So no, I will no longer be dining at Hardee’s or Carl’s Jr. I encourage you to refrain from their establishments as well. Don’t try and pass off your behavior on Obama and the Affordable Care Act. It wont fly with this consumer.