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Are McDonald's employees being squeezed by health care reform?
The fast-food giant warns it might have to drop limited insurance plans for hourly workers. Does this point to a fatal flaw in the reform law?
Nearly 30,000 McDonald's workers could lose their insurance if the fast-food chain has to comply with new health-care reforms.
Nearly 30,000 McDonald's workers could lose their insurance if the fast-food chain has to comply with new health-care reforms.
CC BY: William F. Yurasko
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n a sign that the health overhaul might disrupt insurance coverage for some workers, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that McDonald's is warning it might have to drop a plan covering nearly 30,000 hourly employees. While McDonald's denies the claims, the WSJ reports that the fast-food chain is concerned that its "mini-med" plans — offering limited coverage for low-salary workers — won't meet a new federal requirement that 80 percent to 85 percent of premiums go toward medical care. Is this a sign that the new law could actually deprive some Americans of coverage? (Watch a Fox News report about the rumored proposal)

Obamacare critics saw this disaster coming: "The continued purging of mini-med plans isn't unexpected," says Daniel Foster at National Review. The McDonald's brand name is just getting people to pay attention. The sad truth this illustrates is that the so-called Affordable Care Act will hurt "the very working poor" it is supposed to help. They'll lose coverage at places like McDonald's, get priced out of traditional insurance, and be forced into subsidized plans "some workers may not want or need."
"McDonald's could drop health coverage; Obamacare the Hamburgler"

Actually, health reform will help McDonald's workers: Calling these lame "mini-med" plans insurance "distorts" the definition of the word, says Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic. The policies in question have tight benefit caps and "would do very little to help people with even moderately serious medical conditions." These workers will only get real coverage they can afford in 2014, when reform really kicks in.
"Ronald McDonald vs. health care reform"

This proves the healthy will be subsidizing the sick: Young, healthy workers can get by with minimal coverage, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. The fact that, eventually, McDonald's and other companies will have to drop their "mini-med" plans just means these low-risk patients will be forced to pay more for care they won't need, all in the name of making coverage cheaper for the unhealthy. "To lift a slogan from a McDonald’s competitor, we can’t have it our way any longer."
"Finding out what’s in ObamaCare: McDonald's needs waiver for health-care coverage for hourly workers"

Everyone at McDonald's wins with reform: The McDonald's plans are "better than nothing," says E.D. Kain at Balloon Juice. A cashier making $7.51 an hour would pay $9.50 per week for the cheapest McDonald's plan, with an annual $2,000 benefits cap. But the same worker would receive "far superior" coverage for $4.50 less a week under the reform law.
"I'd rather have a plan on the new health exchanges than McDonald's health insurance any day of the week"

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