Wednesday, December 5, 2012

ObamaCare: confounding smart people since 2010


OK, statists. You all ready for another boycott? How about Cheescake Factory?

From NewsBusters, here’s their lede (with video embedded at the link):

On Monday's CBS This Morning, Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton spotlighted the looming economic impact of Obamacare's implementation, especially on small enterprises: "For those businesses that don't cover their employees, they'll be in for a very expensive situation." Overton also warned that the cost of the law would be passed on to customers.

And below is the transcript of the exchange between Overton and This Morning host, Norah O’Donnell:

NORAH O'DONNELL: I have a really important question for you: one of the things that's going to change, of course, in the new year is ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act. How do you implement that at Cheesecake Factory, and how will you pay for health care for all of your employees?

DAVID OVERTON, CHEESECAKE FACTORY CEO: Well, that – that's a big question. We are working on that right now. We – we have been waiting to see what people will do and what's really happening and what the – the different requirements will be. However, we do cover everyone that works over 25 hours today. So, unlike a lot of businesses, we already are paying a great deal in health care. So, we're not sure how much more it will be - or how much less - or what exactly we'll do. So, for us, it won't be as bad as it will be for others, which it will be very costly.

O'DONNELL: But – but when you say it will be very costly, it will be passed on to who - the customers?

OVERTON: Well, I believe most people will have to do that or cheapen their product-

O'DONNELL: And how much do you think you will have to raise prices in order to pay for health care?

OVERTON: Well, as they say, we don't know what – we don't know what it is right now. We don't know if what we're actually paying is very, very close - and we won't have to raise prices. So, we'll see. I'd love to answer that for you – maybe in a year, I could.

CHARLIE ROSE: Okay. And so, and that point, a year from now, what would we be able to learn from you, you think, because The New Yorker magazine wrote this article saying that you had a lot of things that you could teach - from your experiences with health care.

OVERTON: I think – yeah - I think Doctor [Atul] Gawande. It's not that I teach. He's looking at us as a model. He thinks we're the gold standard of the restaurant business. We do so many things right. We train; we innovate; we cut cost; and we – and we completely change the menu twice a year. And he's never had a bad meal, and he says, how can we cook a thousand meals a day and get consistency? Wouldn't that be a great model for the health care industry? So, he's taking us and not linking us, as much as saying, these guys know what they're doing. Over the years, they've really built a model that works. Why can't we be more like them?

ROSE: Are you worried about this - ObamaCare - and how you provide the health care?

OVERTON: Not worried yet - and, when I hear the numbers, I might be. But, again, because we spend millions and millions of dollars today on health care, we don't know exactly how much more we'll pay. For those businesses that don't cover their employees, they'll be in for a very expensive situation.

(italics, ours)

Two things jumped off the page at us while reading this exchange: 1) A healthcare expert is looking at the Cheesecake Factory as a model for how to run the healthcare industry instead of, say, the DMV? But the Cheesecake Factory is a for-profit outfit (and a for-calorie outfit on top of that).

Haven’t we been told that one of the biggest problems with the healthcare industry is that it is a for-profit industry and that we needed to eliminate the greed i.e., profits from the system?

Trust us on this one, gang: Cheesecake factory isn’t spending the resources that they do on innovation and on changing the menu all the time just because they’re incurable foodies. They’re doing it because they know if they do it right, it will mean more customers and… yep, more profits and this simply does not square with the conventional wisdom of the statists who want to eliminate the profit motive from the healthcare industry.

2) David Overton is a smart guy, a really smart guy and look how many times in that short exchange where he expresses a degree of uncertainty to O’Donnell regarding the consequences of ObamaCare.

Because of the volatility of the election season, regulators kept under wraps or simply didn’t bother to start writing the myriad of rules and regulations and taxes that will start taking effect Jan. 1 of next year and which will be fully implemented when 2014 rolls around.

Uncertainty is bad for business. Business owners don’t expand and don’t hire more employees when they don’t know what the consequences of those actions will be, especially when the hand-writing that is on the wall clearly indicates that many businesses will be forced to provide more coverage for their full-time employees. At that point, it’s no longer an uncertainty and becomes, simply no dice and employees hours are cut to dodge the additional mandates and/or healthcare coverage is simply dropped altogether.

Billions upon billions capital setting on the sidelines and not getting into the game and assisting in the recovery because very smart people like David Overton simply don’t know.

It will be and is becoming to be precisely as we have been predicting.


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K T Cat said...

Here's one for your ObamaCare file.