McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts Seek Obamacare Changes

Robert Jonathan

Fast food restaurant owners, reportedly including McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, are lobbying Congress for Obamacare changes apparently because when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, they're not lovin' it.

The industry wants the Obamacare-installed definition of full-time work to be increased from 30 hours to 40. A website called has been launched to support to effort. The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to provide health insurance coverage to every full-time worker, although the employer mandate has been postponed for one year.

Employers around the country -- particularly but not limited to the restaurant industry -- are retrenching when it comes to health benefits as a result of the controversial federal law. For example, citing Obamacare, UPS, the country's fourth-largest employer, last month decided to cut health insurance benefits for thousands of spouses of its white collar employees. The Trader Joe's grocery chain recently announced it was ending coverage for part-timers.

Many covered employers around the country have put their hiring plans on the back burner, or have decided to downgrade workers into part-time status, to avoid the Obamacare mandate entirely. Insurers have already warned of steep insurance premium increases flowing from the Obamacare implementation. Some covered businesses reached the conclusion that it might be more cost effective to drop employee health coverage completely even for full-time workers and pay the Obamacare employer penalty instead.

Members of the International Franchise Association and other business groups are asking Congress to redefine full-time status to 40 hours, and apparently there is bipartisan support by lawmakers on Capitol Hill for doing just that. One IFA official, according to The Hill, noted that if the law remains unchanged, "Employees won't have the hours they need, and they won't get employer-sponsored healthcare, either." Several business groups have stated that they want to fix Obamacare rather than defund or repeal it.

As far as the 30-hour threshold is concerned, an executive with the National Restaurant Association similarly explained that "This is about taking part-time workers who were at 32 hours, 34 hours per week and limiting their work."

In a related development, labor unions were some of the most vocal supporters of Obamacare. However, the AFL-CIO put out a statement at their annual meeting last week indicating that Obamacare would be "highly disruptive" to union-provided health benefits. To the dismay of Big Labor, whose senior officials met with the Obama administration on Friday, the White House announced that same day that union health insurance plans "would not be eligible for tax subsidies under Obamacare next year."