Law Forces Employees From Preferred Health Plans, Small Business Owner Says

Aug 1, 2011

Franchisee Brian Vaughn says 19 of his part-time employees could lose their mini-med options under the new health care law.

Despite President Obama’s promises that his health care reform bill would rein in costs and let people keep the insurance they have, the law is having the opposite effect, according to one franchise restaurant owner.

“It is ironic that the law is touted as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act –  it neither
protects our country’s people nor makes health care more affordable,” said Brian Vaughn, a Burger King franchisee from Douglas, Georgia. “It is a law of broken promises under which no one will be able to keep the health care they have, even if they like it, and one which will incentivize more companies to scale back their workforces and reduce  benefits  that were previously valued by their employees.” Vaughn testified before a subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee on July 27.

Vaughn, whose company Nearly Famous Inc., owns and operates four restaurants, is upset that 19 of his part-time employees enrolled in his mini-med plan won’t be able to keep that coverage. That’s because under the health reform law, “limited benefit plans” such as the one offered by Vaughn are not acceptable despite the president’s repeated assurances that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”

“Now while I understand that for many, a more comprehensive plan seems critical and, by comparison, these limited benefit plans are slim, it is important to acknowledge reality. There is only so much money – both for my employees and for me,” Vaughn said. “These plans offer less expensive coverage options that allow my team members to choose to take more of their wages home to pay for other expenses and use a small amount to pay for some coverage.”

Vaughn, who began his career with Burger King as an assistant manager earning $14,000 per year, says his ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps’ story and the stories of thousands upon thousands of other small business owners across the nation will cease to exist if Congress does not take action to reverse the most onerous aspects of the new health care law.

In the meantime, Vaughn is already taking steps to downsize his team in anticipation of the full weight of the law’s burden when it takes effect in 2014. “Prior to the law’s enactment, my goal had always been to hire fewer people for more hours. Now, because of what Washington has mandated, it seems to make more practical business sense for me to hire more people for fewer hours.”

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