- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The owner of a popular Brooklyn pizza restaurant is blaming Obamacare for the new surcharge on customers’ checks.

Franny’s owner Francine Stephens said the law is forcing her to tack on a 3-percent surcharge to all checks to offset the $200,000 cost of federally mandated insurance for her 50-plus employees at her three establishments, the New York Daily News reported. A notice about the surcharge was posted on the eatery’s website.

“This is a cost that we cannot absorb without going out of business,” Ms. Stephens said. “We’re quite sensitive to raising prices too much so we wanted to offer transparency.”

The president’s Affordable Care Act requires all businesses with more than 49 full-time employees to provide reasonably priced health insurance by 2016 or face yearly penalties of at least $2,000 per worker.

Ms. Stephens said her prices have also risen because she has given raises to many employees as a result of the recent statewide push for higher wages for restaurant workers, the Daily News reported.

She said she hopes the rise in prices will not keep people from eating there.

“I’m hoping that on a community empathetic level, that most of the people who love Franny’s will understand and will continue to come. On a realistic level, I think a number of our guests will not be able to come as much,” she told Eater. “There’s a perception that if you’re eating out in Brooklyn, it should be cheaper. There’s the perception that pizza should always be cheap. And those perceptions make up the reality of how much people want to spend when they come to Franny’s.”

Customers were reportedly split on how they feel about the surcharge.

“I’m not sure I believe in the principle. I think that health care should be paid by the employer as a benefit or with some shared cost with the employee,” Stacey Chanin Reed told a local CBS News affiliate.

“I appreciate the fact that they’re upfront about it. We need to know what our money is going for, and if it’s going for health care, that’s a bonus,” Erik King said.

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