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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do You Want Me to Have Healthcare With That? Why Raising Restaurant Prices in Seattle Will Not End Society as We Know It

Posted by on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM

As someone who works in the restaurant industry, I can’t help but feel pretty irate after reading this Seattle Met article on the reaction amongst local restaurateurs to the Affordable Care Act’s upcoming requirement that all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees offer health benefits. It’s hard to hear these restaurant owners play the victim when, for the most part, they’re doing just fine. Restaurant employees, however, are not.

Uneeda be willing to pay a little more for this Uneeda burger, people.
  • Kelly O
  • Uneeda be willing to pay a little more for this Uneeda burger, people.

In the midst of the recent outpouring of support for MurrayAid, the fundraising effort to pay for beloved local bartender Murray Stenson’s expensive heart operation, it seems that everyone forgot to ask why he didn’t have health coverage in the first place. As heartwarming as it is that people came through for him the way they did, it’s still pretty fucked up that someone as legendary as Murray—the godfather of all the craft cocktail hullaballoo—should have to worry about finding $55,000 to pay for an urgently necessary heart surgery. I suppose it’s a lot easier to focus on how generous his regulars and colleagues in the industry were to come out to fundraisers (and donate their tips from those fundraisers) than it is to focus on how wrong it is that restaurant employees can’t expect assistance from their employers in paying for health benefits.

I've got type 1 diabetes and I pay $308 per month in premiums before the cost of insulin. I can't really throw a fundraiser every month to cover these costs...

...so I just have to pay. I like the work I do, but it does rankle me that I'm usually serving people who have 100 percent employer-paid health coverage, and I'm spending nearly two weeks' worth of tips just for my premium. I understand that covering 50-plus employees is expensive, and restaurant owners will certainly need to generate extra revenue to do this, but I doubt that raising prices by 3 to 5 percent will cause the mass exodus among their loyal fan base.

The restaurateurs quoted in the article all have successful brands with a steady following. They’re not hurting. And they’re also not serving $14 burgers to people who couldn’t afford $14.50 burgers. If they need to tack this 50 cents on as a “health benefits fee” on every bill, so be it. I certainly hope that in this city of hyper-ethical locavores who insist on organic, grass-fed beef, people are willing to pay an extra 50 cents to provide healthcare benefits to the guy washing bits of that organic, grass-fed beef off their plates. What really gets me is when someone like Scott Staples, the owner of the Restaurant Zoe/Quinn’s/Uneeda Burger empire, has the audacity to suggest that customers subtract this fee from their tip. His justification? “We’re just trying to find a way in a low-margin business to afford to take care of our employees.” It sounds more like he’s trying to find a way to shunt the cost of health benefits off on his employees.

If he really cared about covering his employees, he’d just do it and raise prices. Maybe it would hurt business at first, but I’m betting the dining public in Seattle will reward forward-thinking owners who offer health benefits to their employees, rather than punishing them. I am certainly much more inclined to patronize Tom Douglas’ restaurants now that I know he offers his many, many minions employer-paid health benefits. He did it years before it was a requirement because it was the right thing to do. And guess what? It’s still the right thing to do, and he's still wildly successful.

 

Comments (52) RSS

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sperifera 1
It really blows that the restaurant industry *forces* their clients to pay the wages of their employees via a 20% "tip", and they still don't offer competent benefits. Just charge me what it takes to run a business like any other non-restaurant business does, take care of your employees, and stop acting as if you're the victim. Oh, boo fucking hoo.
Posted by sperifera on March 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 2
Jesus, thanks for writing this. Though I'm not the sort of person who'd go to the Staples-owned restaurants as a rule, I'll certainly avoid them from here on. I've been to Skillet but will certainly not again.

And it makes sense, what you write about Tom Douglas. I have been to those restaurants, and I wonder if his benefits policy helps explain why his staff never seem particularly tense compared to other places.

And for what it's worth I do remember plenty of coverage here about how shitty it was that Murr the Blur had no insurance to begin with, but that was here on Slog. It's kinda special.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on March 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
3
Bravo! Times, like, a thousand!
Posted by Actionsquid on March 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
But if people working in restaurants get living wages and make the same as most people, we might turn into New Zealand and have an educated, healthy workforce that makes great movies!

Think of all the non-starving children!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on March 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 5
Prices need to go up (yes I said up) to pay the servers a living wage. If the server provides great service, great, leave them a tip but to expect them to survive on the lowest wage possible and the gratiuty of strangers who don't give a shit is cruel.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
Fnarf 6
I strongly support health care for restaurant workers (though I despair at the continued and unquestioned connection between employment and health care, which are unrelated), but I think it's...something that you illustrate an article about a fellow needing heart surgery, written by a guy with diabetes, with a picture of a massive bacon-and-cheese burger. With waaaaafle fries.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
Aurora Erratic 7
If your business can't succeed while offering basic benefits (sick leave, health insurance plan) than your business is not viable. It's like claiming your business can't succeed without slave labor. Tough shit.
Posted by Aurora Erratic http://www.finemesspottery.com on March 20, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
8
That Seattle Met article pissed me off so much as it was abundantly clear that the restauranteurs quoted actually do not understand the PPACA.
Posted by deltron2 on March 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 9
@1,

Well, unless you're part of a large party, you're not "forced" to pay any tip at all, let alone 20 percent, which is part of the rub. Restaurants expect patrons to make up the difference of inadequate wages (even more so in states where restaurants can pay less than minimum wage), but they don't actually force patrons to pay that surcharge, allowing cheapskates to stiff waiters on part of their expected compensation.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
10
Amen. And moreover, not only would I not blink at a corresponding 5% increase on price, I would go out of my way to patronize places that put such programs in place. This is a great marketing plan waiting to happen, with a huge first mover advantage.
Posted by DawginExile on March 20, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this
11
And @6 Fnarf again for the win with the parenthetical about the obscene and inefficient connection between health care and employment. That is indeed the root issue.
Posted by DawginExile on March 20, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
seandr 12
Health care should be covered by the government, not businesses. Business owners who supported the universal single payer plan should be upset that they were left to foot the healthcare bill by the heavily compromised Affordable Care Act. As for those businesses that didn't support universal single payer, they are idiots.

Historically speaking, how is it that businesses came to be saddled with the responsibility for paying for healthcare in the first place? No one expects businesses to pay for home or auto insurance, or to pay for the education of our country's children, so why health? This seems completely arbitrary and highly inefficient to me.
Posted by seandr on March 20, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
13
Dick's has already proved that paying your workers a decent wage (Oh the socialist humanity!), and even tuition reimbursement, and hey, maybe, giving your employees some modicum of respect and a way to improve their station might actually be a long-lasting, viable business plan.

On the flip side, yeah, the restaurant industry is notoriously filled with flakes and high turnover, and it sucks for manager/owners to have to spend so much time filling out all the paperwork/paying etc. for people who show up twice and then disappear without a trace. This is why people w/ office jobs tend to have better benefits. They are at least reliable workers.
Posted by WenWino on March 20, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
lilmonster206 14
I think it's worth pointing out that Vivace offers healthcare to employees. If a freaking coffee shop can do it, so can a restaurant.
Posted by lilmonster206 on March 20, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
seandr 15
@Aurora Erratic: If your business can't succeed while offering basic benefits... than your business is not viable.

Dumb, useless comment, essentially equivalent to the assertion that if a person can't pay their own healthcare bills, their career is not viable.
Posted by seandr on March 20, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
16
I assume the waiter pays his health insurance out of my 20% tip. If the restaurants raise prices 5% to cover health insurance, my waiter will be able to buy other stuff out of my 15% tip.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Aaron 17
Not many of us have 100% employer paid health insurance anymore. Subsidized yes, but 100%? Going, going...
Posted by Aaron on March 20, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this
18
Yes, a thousand times yes. But I'm not sure why the author assumes that the people he's serving "usually have 100 percent employer-paid health coverage." My employer is well-known for its excellent benefits package, but they don't pay anywhere close to 100 percent of my health insurance costs. An highly unscientific survey of friends and relations with "traditional" full-time jobs pay between 20 and 100 percent of their health insurance premiums; I don't know anyone who pays nothing.

No doubt about it, healthcare is especially fucked up when it comes to people don't have your standard full-time job with a benefits-providing employer. But it's also fucked up for those of us who are supposedly in the best possible position: insured, decent health plan, no congenital health issues, etc. It is absolutely fucking ridiculous that the majority of people who declare bankruptcy in this country due to medical issues have health insurance. This is important because it demonstrate that healthcare isn't just an issue for some people. It's an issue for every single one of us, and we should be all pissed when we hear a purveyor of $14 burgers say that customers should take the extra 3 to 5 percent on their tabs out of the server's tip.

Posted by Kalakalot on March 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Fnarf 19
@12, I believe health care insurance first became associated with employment during the wage freezes imposed by the government during WWII, when companies started offering inproved benefits to attract scarce employees (the best of whom were mostly off fighting the war). They couldn't offer better wages, so they ramped up health care insurance instead. After the war, the government exempted corporate health care expenses from tax, creating a further subsidy. This system became entrenched, and we're stuck with it now, even though it's the stupidest goddamn thing you could imagine.

Even rich people change jobs all the time, and have to go through the rigamarole of changing health plan with it, and companies have to bear this massive expense (which few of the people who use it pay even 10% of). It's a serious burden for companies hiring now, when many jobs can be shifted to countries where they don't have to pay -- Canada, for instance. Instant 30% savings on your wage bill.

Poor people, of course, don't get health care at all -- whether they're working at crap jobs with no health care offered, or just unemployed.

And worst of all, having for-profit companies (and ALL health-care insurers and providers are for-profit, even the ones that are supposedly non-profit) offering services that the users never have to pay for directly leads to insane price inflation, which is why we pay three times the going rate for what is often pretty piss-poor health care.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM · Report this
20
Many, Many, Many years ago I owned a food business. My local community banned styrofoam to go packaging and the local Chamber of Commerce went apeshit. I got three different drop-ins from representatives of WRA (A bigger group of lying sacks of shit cannot be found in one room) telling me I was DOOOOOOMED if I didn't stand up and demand the city council changer their mind.

The funny thing was I had already removed them from my place. I looked at it as a responsible decision. It was going to cost me about an extra $10 per 500 units to switch. So I raised the price on every item on the menu by $0.10 giving myself coverage of the cost increase and a stronger profit margin. Not only was I covering the extra $.05 per to go container, I was pocketing and extra $.10-sales tax on everything that was consumed on site.

Want to guess how many customers complained or even mentioned that they noticed? One. Want to know what my sales after I took over and made the change were over the previous year? Plus 18%

When restaurant owners tell you a small increase in their prices will kill them and then their staff will all be unemployed, they are lying. Deep down they know it 'cause they've seen changes like I faced.

Get out in front of it and tell your customers, who here in Seattle are likely to be of the "we'll pay more for ethical businesses" variety, about the change. Or be a dick and complain and watch everyone who reads about you never eat a Uneeda burger.

Can't ban smoking...we'll go out of business. Can't get rid of bags, we'll go out of business. Can't raise the minimum wage, we'll go out of business. Yargh, the sky continues to refuse to fall.
Posted by BornAgainInBellevue on March 20, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 21
Is this why Boom Noodle and Oddfellows both recently took a nose dive? Some kind of healthcare cost cutting?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 20, 2013 at 1:53 PM · Report this
22
Agreed that the gov't should provide health care for everyone, but if you don't see the correlation between offering Benefits and attracting talented and loyal workers, then you are missing the point.

There has been a fundamental change in how employers see their employees as liabilities instead of assets. Gotta keep labor costs down, gotta keep labor costs down. How do we trim our budget? What's our biggest expense? Labor. Hey, if you want to do all the work yourself and bury yourself in a pile of cash in an early grave, by all means.
Posted by WenWino on March 20, 2013 at 1:54 PM · Report this
23
@6: "I think it's...something that you illustrate an article about a fellow needing heart surgery, written by a guy with diabetes, with a picture of a massive bacon-and-cheese burger. With waaaaafle fries. "

...Except that Murray's heart valve replacement and the author's TYPE 1 diabetes have nothing to do with diet.
Posted by couchetard on March 20, 2013 at 1:54 PM · Report this
snacktruck 24
@21, no - the nosedive is primarily because the food is not very good at both locations (especially Boom - er, rank).

I am very pleased Murry Stenson is recovering well. He's a jewel here in the Emerald City and I do not drink alcohol.
Posted by snacktruck on March 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 25
@ 15, you show ignorance about something you should have learned about during the HCR debate, and have the temerity to call someone else's comment dumb and useless? Kee-rist.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
26
Businesses should be able to opt out of the new healthcare requirements... as long as they post a large sign prominently on the front door that reads, "WARNING: The owner of this establishment does not believe in providing healthcare coverage or sick time, thus encouraging employees to work while sick and increasingly the likelihood of illness being passed to patrons".

That way, I can clearly see which restauranteurs are reputable, and which ones need to have their business crash and burn.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on March 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
sperifera 27
Cthulhu, @24 is correct about Boom Noodle's nosedive. They axed about 2/3 of the menu items, cheapened the remaining ones, and raised the prices. I used to love it, but now it just sux. The $70 (for 2 persons) I spent there last Saturday will be my last... I don't think it has anything to do with health care costs.
Posted by sperifera on March 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM · Report this
fletc3her 28
Wouldn't all the restaurants raise their prices by a similar percentage anyway?
Posted by fletc3her on March 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
29
@24/27-- Same with their other establishment, Blue C. I rarely go there since the sushi is mediocre, but it's sometimes convenient, quick, and relatively affordable. I eat only the non-fish stuff, 'cause it keeps the lunch tab down and it seems like a better choice than eating shitty fish. I hadn't been in a year or so, but have found myself there twice in the last month...

BOTH times, most of the less expensive stuff was next to non-existent. There were only two slots for avocado or cucumber rolls on the entire conveyor, and in the 35 minutes I was there, they were NEVER filled. Same with the tofu roll. Basically anything that was in the bottom two tiers on their price structure was non-existent. Sure, I could ask for it, but that's not the point. It was clear that they're trying to force people into selecting from only the higher-priced items. Next time a friend suggests it as a meeting place, I'm suggesting another place. I never really liked it in the first place; I'm certainly not paying more money to go to a place that sucks.
Posted by lopes on March 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this
treacle 30
Public health is a public good, we should have a single-payer system. That would free up businesses -- and commerce generally. AND get us more sane health care pricing, since the gov't could easily set the tone & get good rates, instead of individuals and companies getting soaked by healthcare price markups.

Businesses -- esp. Food service -- need to be required to offer sick time when their staff are sick. Which is an important public health issue.

Since we won't get single-payer out of he Feds any time soon, what are the chances we could push for & get a single-payer system here in Washington state?
Posted by treacle on March 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM · Report this
nedludd 31
"Joshua Henderson, founder of the Skillet Diner empire, is leading that change [adding the health insurance surcharge]" .
I guess I've had my last meal at Skillet. I don't support restaurants that publicly campaign against healthcare benefits.
Posted by nedludd on March 20, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 32
@20,

I have to say that I always hated those stupid styrofoam clam shells. Putting the slightest amount of pressure on the top would cave it in, and you couldn't let the thing even slightly tip to the side (even just when carrying it in a plastic bag), or you'd have major leakage. The cardboard ones aren't perfect, but at least with those you pretty much have to carry it upside down before you wind up with a huge mess.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 20, 2013 at 4:15 PM · Report this
33
@30

ask Rodney Tom what the likelihood of getting single payer through the Democratic controlled legislature is.

@32

Its amazing that in the now ego and personality dri en world of dining these guys are all so terrible at PR. Here's a clue, "Yeah, its going to cost 10,000 a year for me to provide basic health care. So I need to find a way to get another few bucks from every patron. I'm sure our patrons will understand."

Nope, go with "I want you to hate this cost specifically."

Posted by BornAgainInBellevue on March 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM · Report this
34
Obviously having to treat their employees like normal humans is what causes local resterrranteers to have PIGEONS ON THE VATS.
Posted by WenWino on March 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM · Report this
35
@20: One thing to keep in mind is that the upscale (or even average or hole-in-the-wall) restaurants in pricey districts frequently see their rents pegged (and I use the term advisedly) to gross income. They don't like raising prices because it means a higher income on the balance sheet, even if it's only to cover an additional expense like employee healthcare.

When San Francisco began requiring healthcare coverage for restaurant workers, many owners threw a fit and added a separate surcharge to the checks rather than raise prices. An audit by the city some weeks back found that dozens of SF restaurants have collected far more in those surcharges (in some cases a quarter-million dollars more) than they've spent on employee healthcare (in some cases $0.00).
Posted by DonServo on March 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM · Report this
36
The whole idea behind tips is that they pay the bulk of a server's compensation. People can be pro- or con- on that one, but you don't get to have it both ways. The more that this or that business or living expense gets folded into the price on the menu, the less justification there is for tipping.

I'm a regular 20% tipper now, but if Seattle requires health care for restaurant employees and the result is a price increase on the menu, I'll cut my tips. Not because I'm angry at anyone, but because the basis for tipping has been eroded.

Which, by the way, is fine by me. I could go either way. But for now, we have this tip based system. When I'm in Oregon, I tip 25-30% because there's no sales tax down there. Here, it's 20%. Jack it up 5% for health insurance, and I'll be at 15%.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 20, 2013 at 7:00 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 37
@ 36, that would make sense if servers were just out there buying health insurance on the wide open free market with their tips, but they're not. They're going without insurance. If you have to start paying a bit more for that because restaurants are required to provide it, the basis for tipping is completely unchanged.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 38
@36 - Your logic is flawed if you assume your tip currently pays for health insurance. I don't know a single waiter or bartender who has health insurance. The author of this post is an outlier - I assume due to his disease.

Maybe before you reduce your tip once their employer insures them, you should ask them if they were paying for health insurance themselves before.

Or hell, reduce your tip now, since it's a safe assumption that your tip is going toward rent, food, smokes, and booze, but not health insurance.
Posted by Free Lunch on March 20, 2013 at 8:03 PM · Report this
39
The Slog should have a list of restaurants that insure their employees. No, not life, where the owner cashes out of one of his staff keels. HEALTH INSURANCE. I'd gladly patronize those eating establishments. I'm sure your research staff knows to draw the line at "health insurance supplemental gratuity."
Posted by Latinyid31 on March 20, 2013 at 8:23 PM · Report this
40
#37, I buy individual health insurance on the open market. It's expensive, and it pisses me off to no end. But don't sit there and tell me that a server can't do what I do, because that would be a lie.

Let's be honest. After all, here we are on the Internet where no one knows we're dogs, so why not tell the truth? On average, restaurant servers are 20- and 30-somethings. Not all of 'em by any stretch, but most. And, like so many people in that age group, they'll not pay the health insurance bill because it's theoretical. Until it isn't, at which point it's too late.

Enter the city council and the restaurants. Instead of sequestering tips to pay the bills, they add 5% to the check and require everyone to be covered. I'm fine with that, actually. But make no mistake, what has just happened is that more living expenses got loaded into the check, reducing the power and efficacy and meaning of a tip.

There are plenty of arguments for doing it that way. This is how it gets done in Europe, which of course gets worshipped here in Seattle, especially among those who went there once or twice for a week or two. I can say this much: as annoying as "Is everything alright" can be, ordinary restaurant service is much better here than it is where the servers aren't angling for tips. I could go on, but will stop there.

But you want to shift the paradigm, as the know-it-alls like to say, and fold more expenses into base compensation. Like I say, that's fine, but it'll come out of tips. Not because I hate anyone, but because of the arithmetic.

Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 20, 2013 at 9:17 PM · Report this
41
What server makes enough in tips to afford health insurance on the open market ? They must be the best server in the world or they found some super, cheap plan that has an enormous deductible.
Posted by randomitis on March 20, 2013 at 9:34 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 42
@40 - Sounds like you are overtipping these 20/30 year-olds who don't buy insurance NOW, based on your logic @36. Either that or you just completely contradicted yourself.

You should punish these uninsured waiters with shitty tips now, since now or later they aren't using your tip to buy insurance.
Posted by Free Lunch on March 20, 2013 at 11:02 PM · Report this
43
#42, 15% isn't a shitty tip. But yeah, maybe I should tip less, since you want me to.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 20, 2013 at 11:25 PM · Report this
44
@40 makes a good point. When I moved here from Canada I thought it was crazy to tip more then 15% and to tip a dollar for a cup of coffee (I worked in coffee shops in Canada for 6 years, and we were lucky to take home 10-20 bucks a pay period in tips [tips where pooled then split across staff each pay]). Most of the people back Canada tip very little (usually 15% or less) in restaurants, and tip a quarter or two per drink in bars. But everyone has government healthcare.

But after a couple of months I've became in the habit of tipping more here. One of the reasons I've justified typing a buck for a 3 dollar latte is that the barista's doesn't have healthcare and need the tips for it. And I pay less taxes here, so I can afford to tip a bit more to help out those who need the money to pay for health care.

Not that I'm going to go back to tipping less, as service in Seattle is 10 times better then service in Canada. But there is an argument that countries that provide more social services tend to require less tipping.

Oh do people here tip on the total bill or on the total minus the tax? In Canada back when gst/pst equal 15%, we always just doubled the tax (so it was tipping on the pre-tax rate).
Posted by j2patter on March 21, 2013 at 12:14 AM · Report this
45
Amen.
Posted by chris in dk on March 21, 2013 at 3:57 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 46
@ 40, a server can't sit there and do what you do. That's the truth, because servers don't make that much money except maybe the ones who work at four star places. Most places aren't that expensive, so the base pay and tips aren't much either.

By your logic, you should tip less if the minimum wage for servers increased. But that wage has increased over time. Did you used to tip 30%, and cut it down as wages went up? No? How is insurance any different?

Anyway, I think I just caught you in a lie. You said you wouldn't cut back tips out of anger, but since I just made mincemeat out of your rationalization, then anger must have been the real reason all along.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 21, 2013 at 5:35 AM · Report this
47
#46, so you want me to tip less right now, then? Who did you say was angry?

#44, I tip on the pre-tax. And yeah, I've noticed that service is worse in Canada. The big advantage of the U.S. tipping custom is that it impels good service because everyone knows if you don't get it, you don't have to tip. They also know that restaurant managers pay close attention to customer complaints. In your typical restaurant, the customer is king. Erode the tipping culture, and service will erode. Not that the bitter waitresses on the Slog will mind.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 48
@ 47, your panties get in a twist when you're shown up, don't they? That makes no sense... because neither original opinion, lie that it was, didn't make sense either.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM · Report this
49
Ah, the liberals. So open to disagreement.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 21, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
50
The real question is why are we in a place where working people cannot afford healthcare? The answer is Universal Healthcare, not restaurants raising prices. It's putting a bandaid on an amputated leg.
Posted by izzie on March 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM · Report this
51
Yeah, @17. The "welfare queens" working for the federal government pay 1/3 of their health insurance premiums and 100% of their dental and vision insurance premiums. When my dad worked for the state government, I think he only paid 10% of his insurance premiums, but I KNOW the co-pays were substantial for basic care, and I'm almost certain they've raised the employee contribution in the last few years.

Hilariously, the ONLY person I know who gets 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision premiums is a lobbyist.
Posted by Ms. D on March 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
52
Thank you for this article. I've posted the same on some articles about Mr. Stenson, and have had my posts removed.

We all need insurance. I'm unemployed, but carry my own insurance. I'm not invulnerable. A couple of years ago, I was rear-ended on a city street, causing $300,000.00 worth of medical damage to my body. Hated paying that $300 in monthly premiums. Loved getting the medical care I needed.
Posted by anita772 on March 24, 2013 at 2:24 PM · Report this

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