July 31, 2009

Health care costs per cupcake

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NPR’s Wendy Kaufman today tells the story of health care reform through the experience of  Seattle premium cupcake baker Jody Hall, small businesswoman who translates the cost of health insurance for her employees to a quarter per each of her $2.50 cupcakes. At her business, Cupcake Royale in Seattle, Hall has seen a 20 percent increase per year, plus a 40 percent increase a few years ago, in health insurance costs for her 70 employees. That, Hall has told the White House at a round table discussion, is unsustainable. She has three or four health insurers to choose from, and they don’t negotiate on price. For that reason, she supports the so-called ‘public option’ plan, which includes a rate offered by the federal government that competes with the private sector. She is optimistic that legislation will be passed this year, but is supporting a campaign this week in local coffee houses that has the slogan “support health care now” on coffee cups, with a phone number that if called, takes callers to Congress where they can leave that message.

“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.”

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