Saturday, March 01, 2014

Spiting Faces

There's some chatter about a few restaurants in Florida who, to show their dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act, have started tacking on an "Obamacare surcharge". What most people are focusing on is the incredibly limited nature of the "fee". Even assuming it accurately reflects costs, we're talking 20 cents on a dinner for one. The horrors! Truly, this massive government overreach will be the death of us all.

But from my vantage point there's another angle to consider. I don't see how this turns out well for the protesting restaurateurs. The number of customers who don't come in because of the extra 20 cents seems scant. The number who don't return due to the political message being sent, though, may not be trivial. If I saw an "Obamacare surcharge" on my bill, I probably wouldn't return to an establishment simply because I'd be deeply annoyed at that sort of hyper-partisan grandstanding. And presumably, the conservative anti-ACA folks can't show up either, lest they demonstrate that the cost of the ACA isn't a big deal. Economic consequences are a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if they're not, then that just demonstrates that we can in fact afford universal healthcare. Either way, not a happy day for someone trying to send a message about the evils of Obamacare.