Saturday, August 01, 2009

NPR: Seattle Cupcake Goddess Supports Health Care Public Option (with audio)

Jody Hall, the owner of Cupcake Royale in Seattle, is struggling to pay for escalating health insurance premiums for her employees. She supports a proposal to create an insurance plan offered by the federal government. Courtesy of Cupcake Royale.

NPR, with audio (04:35):
Jody Hall, who owns Seattle's Cupcake Royale, now pays as much in health insurance for her employees as she does in rent for four choice Seattle storefronts.
A majority of working Americans are employed by small businesses, but according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 6 in 10 small businesses provide health care. What's more, the National Federation of Independent Business reports that small companies pay substantially more in premiums than large firms do. Hall, for example, has just three or four insurers to choose from, and she says they won't negotiate on price.

Eating Profits

Hall is passionate about her cupcakes, made daily from scratch with only premium ingredients and no stabilizers or preservatives. They are frosted by hand, one at a time, and they dazzle. Lemon, lavender, triple-threat chocolate and fresh strawberry are just a few of the choices.

The bakery-cafe owner values her 70 or so employees and provides them with health insurance, but it isn't easy or cheap.

Most of the cupcakes sell for $2.50 each; about 10 percent of that — 25 cents of each cupcake — goes to pay for health care.

"It's definitely eating a big share of our profit. We don't have to offer health insurance," she says, adding, "But I think it adds value to the people that work here and we can find better people to work here because of that."

Employee Jessie Martin, who does marketing and design work, says, "It's really great to work for a small-business owner who finds benefits that important and is working really hard to make sure we get them."

But Hall says something has to be done about the expense of providing health coverage. She says her premiums have increased 20 percent in each of the past few years, and a couple of years ago, they went up 40 percent.

"It's unsustainable to manage that kind of expense hike, so we are forced to cut our quality of coverage to make it more affordable, and that doesn't do much for society," she says." A lot of small businesses are doing that or cutting insurance altogether."

A National Debate

Hall has become very involved in the national debate involving health care reform and recently attended a small-business roundtable at the White House on the subject.

She supports what's known as the public option, a proposal to create an insurance plan offered by the federal government that would compete with private insurers.

Proponents say it would lower premiums, result in better coverage for more people and in the long run, lower health care costs. But opponents of the plan — including the nation's largest small-business trade association — dispute that. The NFIB says we should look to the private sector for more competition and lower costs.
The public option is just one element of the Obama health care package, which has a $1 trillion price tag spread over 10 years. How to pay for it, and more fundamentally, what that reform should look like, remain matters of intense debate for small-business owners like Hall.
Howie P.S.: H/t to Derek Birnie. Meanwhile, inside the Beltway the fight continues: "Senators Murray & Cantwell on prognosis for healthcare reform: A tough path ahead."


Brittanicus said...

These politicians voted Against the Nathan Deal Amendment, that would Prevent Health Care Benefits to Illegal Aliens. Simply put--it's not their BLOODY MONEY! So what! Do they care if taxpayers have to foot the behemoth bill, for anybody who snubs our laws and enters a sovereign country called America? The nationwide parasites are --CHEAP LABOR--businesses who could care less, because they pile up enormous profits. The corporate hierarchy have been having a field day--FOR DECADES. A foreign national gets hurt, their service manager or whoever the underling is, drives the maimed person and relinquishes any responsibility by dumping them on the emergency hospital entranceway. BINGO! nothing to pay!

Perhaps Americans should find some old shoddy clothes, no shave, no haircut and enter every emergency room in our country in the millions? Speak a lot of gibberish and carry no identification with a small splinter in their finger, a touch of a fever or any minor condition. By federal law the hospital will have an emergency on a--EMERGENCY. I am afraid Americans have been Lemmings going over a proverbial cliff, since who knows when? We just keep paying and paying even more to the IRS, to support--ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Try getting free health care in any other country, other than societies in the European Union? A FAT CHANCE! We are literary being taxed to death, to give welfare to the business overlords. These legislators have already tried to weaken E-Verify, local police action 287(g) and now unwinding the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli enforcement law--which worked, but again was never enforced.

Even our Democrats who are trying to engineer health care for every American---INCLUDED 20 PLUS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR LARGE FAMILIES. Here are 29 Judas Iscariot's, who sold the American people out--for a lot more than 13 pieces of silver? HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR. Capps (D-CA), Eshoo (D-CA), Harman (D-CA), Matsui (D-CA), McNerney (D-CA), Waxman (D-CA), DeGette (D-CO), Murphy (D-CT), Castor (D-FL), Rush (D-IL), Schakowsky (D-IL), Braley (D-IA), Sarbanes (D-MD), Markey (D-MA), Dingell (D-MI), Stupak (D-MI), Pallone (D-NJ), Weiner (D-NY), Butterfield (D-NC), Space (D-OH), Sutton (D-OH), Doyle (D-PA), Gordon (D-TN), Gonzalez (D-TX), Green (D-TX),Welch (D-VT), Christensen (D-VI), Inslee (D-WA) and Baldwin (D-WI). I'm afraid I would be banned if I used the right epithet, when leaving a comment for these so called lawmakers?

These are the betrayers of--ALL--taxpayers. These 29 traitors gave illegal immigrants the right to pilfer your billfold and purse, while they sit in their Washington office collecting their 6 figure salaries. REMEMBER THEM AND THROW THEM OUT! DEMAND NO AMNESTY! NO FAMILY UNIFICATION KNOWN AS CHAIN MIGRATION! BUILD THE ORIGINAL FENCE! NO MORE HEALTH CARE OR ANY OTHER KIND OF BENEFITS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. CLOSE THE BORDER AND STATION THE NATIONAL GUARD. $2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS, JUST IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS? Learn uncorrupted facts at NUMBERSUSA. For myself and family! I am for any health care re-organization, as long as it doesn't smell of copious profiteering and corruption, like the majority of private insurers do?

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