Affordable Care Act Surcharges Being Added to Some Restaurant Bills

Seen a spike in your restaurant bill lately? It could be because the place you’re dining is trying to be creative about the new costs incurred by the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

The Florida chain of Gator’s Dockside tacked on a 1 percent surcharge for their diners and in Los Angeles, the restaurant Republique has added a 3 percent surcharge to cover the costs of healthcare that they are now required to pay for their workers.

Colorado is experiencing the same thing.

Because diners were so outraged at the surcharge, Republique kindly offered them to subtract 3 percent from their tip if they really felt the need. As Eater reported the restaurant saying on Facebook, in response to a negative complaint, “We are sorry to hear that. The surcharge is the best way to provide all of our employees, including those you don’t see in the front of the house, with full benefits. We know this is different and you are welcome to take the 3% out of what you would normally tip. We hope to see you in the restaurant soon!”

All of the restaurants emphasize that these surcharges are in no way a political statement.

I think it’s more a necessity than a political statement,” University of Colorado Denver business professor Cliff Young told CBS Denver, highlighting that now that many restaurants are required to provide their employees with healthcare, they’re looking at higher costs and have to find a way to pay for them.

All-in-all, that’s a good thing for restaurant workers, especially considering the fact that there is already an ongoing discussion of how little these types of employees often make. Gator’s Dockside in Florida actually lists the surcharge as “ACA” to identify that it is in fact for the Affordable Care Act. And while that may annoy some diners, ultimately, it’s a reminder of how many people didn’t have healthcare before the ACA came into play. Annoyed at paying more? Maybe it’s just the real price of a functioning society that we should have been paying all along.

“It was done in all the greatest intentions. It was done to give everybody full healthcare without knocking their hours down and not charging ridiculous amounts of money to do it,” a company official a Gator’s Dockside told Reuters.

What do you think? Should restaurants simply raise individual product prices or charge an overall surcharge to help them with the costs of healthcare?

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Image: Robert S. Donovan