It’s a slow week in food politics – the farm bill is still unresolved, the drought shows no sign of letting up, and the campaign to label GMOs in California soldiers on despite serious lobbying efforts from Big Ag. Even the Chick-fil-A media frenzy seems to be dying down.
But just when it seemed like things might be at a standstill, Papa John’s arrived on the scene to blame Obamacare for a potential rise in food prices.
And is it any surprise that pizza is in the news again? Ever since Congress declared pizza was a vegetable (sort of) last year, this junk food favorite has remained in the food politics spotlight. Just last week TAPC (the American Pizza Community lobbying group) was in the news protesting calorie labels, and now Papa John’s is making its own splash by playing the Obamacare blame game.
According to Papa John’s founder and CEO, John Schnatter, Obamacare is going to cost his pizza devotees somewhere between 11 and 14 cents more per pie. If the president’s health care plan goes into effect, Papa John’s will have to give health coverage to its 16,500 employees, and as the pizza franchise spends more money on employee benefits, it will in turn need to charge you, the late night Papa John’s addict, more per order.
“If Obamacare is in fact not repealed, we will find tactics to shallow out any Obamacare costs and core strategies to pass that cost onto consumers in order to protect our shareholders’ best interests,” Schnatter, an avowed Mitt Romney supporter, said during a conference call last week.
But, as Politico notes, Schnatter isn’t really that concerned about Obamacare’s effect on his thriving business (it’s the third-largest pizza chain in the U.S.); instead, he just wants you, the customer, to know that your health plan is going to cost you – in pizza.