‘Papa John’ Schnatter Walks It Back On Obamacare Threats

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John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s, has come in for a fair bit of criticism after his repeated complaints about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

Schnatter’s Obamacare opposition has been covered heavily for months now and across social media sites like Facebook, debates have raged, and many an infographic has been shared as many pizza eaters decry what they see as stinginess on the part of the CEO toward his workers. Supporters of Schnatter’s position in turn have pledged to buy more Papa John’s pizza, but it may not be enough to circumvent the bad publicity the controversy has stirred.

Schnatter has gone to the Huffington Post to blog about the controversy in what seems to be a sort of damage control attempt via blog post. In it, Schnatter first says that he never said he’d take the provisions of the law out on workers and comments:

“Many in the media reported that I said Papa John’s is going to close stores and cut jobs because of Obamacare. I never said that. The fact is we are going to open over hundreds of stores this year and next and increase employment by over 5,000 jobs worldwide. And, we have no plans to cut team hours as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”

The Papa John’s CEO continues, explaining that a reporter who had not identified herself as such started the controversy:

“Clearly there was some misunderstanding somewhere. The remarks that generated the headlines were made during an entrepreneur class I was asked to speak to at a Florida college. I was asked to share my experience as an entrepreneur and to provide the students with real-life small business situations. Unbeknownst to me, until she identified herself, a reporter was there.”

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Schnatter then says he answered a series of questions about whether Obamacare would lead to cuts in staff and hours, and he replied to those questions:

” … in Hawaii there is a form of the same kind of health insurance and that’s what you do, you find loopholes to get around it. That’s what they’re going to do … It’s common sense. It’s what I call lose-lose.”

Schnatter also says the following comments on Obamacare were not relayed after he made them at the same event and quotes himself as having said:

“The good news is 100% of the population (full-time workers) is going to get health insurance. I’m cool with that … We’re all going to pay for it. There’s nothing for free … And this way I get to provide health insurance and I’m not at a competitive disadvantage … our competitors are going to have to do the same thing.”

Schnatter’s full Obamacare post can be read here.