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Business Owner on Health Care: "I'm Confused"

Madelyn Alfano is no dummy. This native of Hoboken has spent the last 25 years building up a successful chain of restaurants in Los Angeles called Maria's Italian Kitchen. She's President of the LA chapter of the California Restaurant Association.

But ask her what she's supposed to do next to expand healthcare coverage from 50 fulltime employees to all 400 of her workers, and she draws a blank. "I just read a 30-page summary of what the healthcare bill is supposed to do and mean," she says. "And I read it again. I read it two times, I was so confused." She knows that within four years she will need to provide coverage, but she has a lot of questions. For example, if she has a part-time waiter who works a second job at another restaurant, "Who pays for that?" She's also concerned that she'll be paying workers comp, sick days, general liability, AND healthcare. "Something's gotta give."

The situation has her pausing expansion plans.

Alfano is just one of many business owners now trying to figure out what's next. Here's more of what she had to say.

The new healthcare law also mandates that any restaurant chain with at least 20 outlets must supply calorie information to customers. Alfano says that's already the law in California, and the restaurant association supports this. But she's worried she might get sued. Here she explains why:

Finally, the restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit businesses in this recession. Madelyn Alfano explains how she managed to turn a profit and not lay off a single employee.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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