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It's Come to This: Obamacare Threatens White Castle

12:07 PM, Jul 6, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Another reason some restauranteurs worried about the health care bill is that menu labeling mandates can be onerous. I would submit that this has more to do with their desire to stay in business than their alleged evil, greasy desire to fatten the American people. Adding new menu boards, drive-through menus, a menus is an expensive prospect, especially when even advocates of menu labeling can point to no evidence that it actually works.White Castle has been offering health care to its employees since 1924. It pays 70-90 percent of health-care costs for those employees. The company cannot be considered one of the health-care system's bad actors, even by the most ludicrous lefty's standards. But when good behavior is punished, you will not get more of it. Now, the company says it will consider dropping employee-based coverage and putting employees in federal exchanges— a scenario which, before Obamacare passed, was considered a paranoid right-wing talking point.

"It would be incongruent with how we run our business, but we have to think that through," says Richardson. "No matter what, we will do what's best for our team members."

People and businesses act on incentives, and Congress has little to no idea what it incentivized when it passed this bill. That's pretty risky business in a bad economy, even if the law affected only the restaurant industry, which employs 10-12 percent of Americans in some fashion.  Instead, this bill affects far more than that in a thousand ways we don't yet know. In the spirit of Nancy Pelosi's legislative philisophy, I guess we'll just keep "finding out," now that it's passed.In other Kal Penn news (yes, I'm as surprised as you that there's more), he's in a pretty good fight with Joel Stein of Time Magazine. Update: Apologies to my own colleague, Jonathan V. Last, who wrote up a similar item in May. I missed it while I was in Iraq. Though the local news coverage of the White Castle dilemma is new, the CEO's original comments were from this spring. Nonetheless, the many Kal Penn news junkies in our audience will no doubt be pleased with the depth of our coverage.

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