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ObamaCare to cost fast food companies much less because people would rather pay the IRS fine than join

WSJ, Restaurant Chains Cut Estimates for Health-Law Costs:

Wendy's Co. (WEN) initially estimated the health-care law would increase the cost of operating each of its 5,800 U.S. restaurants by $25,000 a year. But Chief Financial Officer Steve Hare told an investment conference on March 14 that executives have cut the estimate by 80%, to $5,000 a year, primarily because they expect many employees to decline the insurance offering.

"It is still going to be an additional cost that both the company and our franchisees will have to absorb, but we think it is going to be manageable," Mr. Hare said. A Wendy's spokesman said the company continues to refine its cost estimates and it would be "premature" to discuss them further.

Executives of other restaurant chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG), Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK) and Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, have offered similar cost estimates in recent months.

They say many employees will decline company-offered insurance, either because they can get insurance through Medicaid or a family member, or because they prefer to pay the penalty for not having health insurance. The penalty next year will be as low as $95 next year, much less than most employees will be asked to pay through company-sponsored insurance plans.

The comments suggest that some people may fall through the cracks in the law and remain uninsured, at least for a time.

What a clusterfuck. There's even less than are going to apply when the online application system turns out to be a Clusterfuck too, as it will.

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