In February, one Florida restaurant chain—Gator’s Dockside -- made headlines for slapping a one percent “Obamacare surcharge” on customers’ bills. The chain’s owners said the surcharge was necessary to offset the new costs associated with the Affordable Care Act.
Under the law, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees will be required to provide health coverage for their employees by 2015 or pay a penalty for each worker.
Many major companies say the new expenses will likely be passed onto the consumer—though presumably in a more-subtle manner than Gator’s Dockside’s approach.
Though the Florida restaurant’s owners said the move to add Obamacare on every receipt was not political, the story played into the GOP’s message that Obamacare could have a harmful effect on businesses and consumers.
As it turns out, the majority of Americans say they are okay with businesses adding a nominal surcharge to each bill in order to help pay for their employees health coverage.
That’s according to a new survey from Bankrate.com, which found that 68 percent of those polled say they don’t mind paying a higher bill so businesses can provide their workers with insurance. Younger people especially seemed to approve of this approach—about 64 percent of 18-29 year olds, while only 39 percent of people 65 and older said they were okay with this practice.
“While most Americans may be able to swallow an extra 25 cents on their bill at their favorite restaurant, a sizable chunk (22 percent) said they would stop going to the business. I can only imagine this number increasing if businesses try to charge too much,” Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman said in a statement.
Still, for the time being, the survey’s findings are more good news for the White House—which has enjoyed a slew of recent polls suggesting that the public’s perception of the ACA is beginning to improve.
Just last week, The New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll showing that the majority of people in Republican-dominated southern states said they favor keeping the law and making fixes to it, rather than repealing it.
An ABC News/ Washington Post poll shows support for the law has crept up to 49 percent-- its highest level since the troubled rollout last fall, when just 40 percent approved of the law. The law’s popularity has surged along with enrollment in the health exchanges—which topped 8 million as of April 15.
The president and Democrats rallied victoriously around the final enrollment numbers. “The law is working as it is intended,” President Obama declared in the White House Rose Garden. "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,"
Still, the majority of Americans continue to have an unfavorable view of the law, and Republicans are relying on this sentiment to continue into the midterms.
Obamacare seems to be the GOP’s strategy this coming election season despite some of the good news revolving around the law. Some Republicans are running with messages vowing to repeal the law.
Others, including House Speaker John Boehner, express doubt about those plans. Repealing the law “isn’t the answer,” Boehner said at a Rotary Club meeting in Ohio on Thursday.
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