Health and Science

Pizza joint hikes tabs because of Obamacare costs

Brooklyn Pizzeria hikes tabs because of Obamacare costs
Brooklyn Pizzeria hikes tabs because of Obamacare costs

You'll be eating some of Obamacare's costs — along with your slice of pepperoni pie — at this pizzeria.

A New York pizza and pasta restaurant is imposing a 3 percent additional charge on customer's bills to cover the expenses of complying with Obamacare.

The owners of Franny's, located in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, said they will need to fork over about $200,000 annually to pay for health coverage for their more than 50 workers at that location and two other restaurants as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

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"This is a cost that we cannot absorb without going out of business," owner Francine Stephens told the New York Daily News.

"We're quite sensitive to raising prices too much, so we wanted to offer transparency," Stephens told the newspaper.

A note on the restaurant's website says: "a 3% surcharge will be added to all checks to contribute to the cost of the affordable care act for all franny's employees."

As of 2016, most U.S. employers with at least 50 full-time workers must offer them affordable coverage — no more than 9.5 percent of the employee's annual household income. Employers who fail to do so face a fine of up to $3,000 per employee. The first 30 workers are excluded from the calculation of that fine.

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The so-called Obamacare employer mandate is one of the most unpopular aspects of the law. Even some supporters of the ACA have suggested it could be eliminated without much harm to the overall goal of expanding coverage to the uninsured.

Stephens isn't cheesed off about the ACA's intent, but told the New York Post: "Never has my business been confronted with a $200,000 bill."

"It's a great law that we just can't afford," she said.

In his article, Post restaurant columnist Steve Cuozzo said restaurant surcharges are illegal in New York.

But Stephens told Cuozzo: "We've been talking to lawyers, and no one was able to give us a clear answer."

"Obviously, if it's ruled to be illegal, we will remove it," she added.