Omnivore - Matt Hill leaves Grant Central

Of restaurants and Obamacare


  • urbanspoon.com

I was sorry to learn Thursday evening that Matt Hill, the manager of Grant Central Pizza for the last three years, is leaving the restaurant next week. He's going to become general manager of Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria in downtown Atlanta.

I asked Matt why he's leaving. "Health insurance," he said. "I love working here but the older I get, the more I worry about not having it."

Restaurants are well known for not providing employees, especially servers, with health insurance. Nobody argues that the cost isn't often prohibitively high now. That is about to change, though, and with no help from the National Restaurant Association (NRA). It has been among the loudest opponents of the new Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare").

NRA lobbyists have been running around the White House screaming that the sky is falling and — as has become the fashion these days — they frequently have no actual grasp of the facts...or they choose to ignore the facts out of ideological bias. Check out Matt Iglesias' explanation of why the act is actually a win for most small business operators.

The full effect of Obamacare won't begin until 2014, so that people in Matt Hill's position still have little choice but to seek the rare restaurant job that offers insurance. That of course means working for companies large enough to provide it without completely blowing profits. In 2014, small companies will receive up to 50-percent subsidies in the form of tax credits to provide insurance, as Iglesias notes in the above link.

Meanwhile, I pay over $700 a month for health insurance with a $5,000 deductible So do many other self-employed people.

I'll miss Matt. He's been manager at Grant Central for about three years. The restaurant is a few blocks from our house, so we eat there frequently. Best wishes to him.