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Senator Landrieu's pro-small-business, pro-worker amendment will enable restaurant operators to provide our employees the highest quality benefits at the most affordable price. On behalf of the nation's nearly 1 million restaurants and its 13 million employees, we thank Senator Landrieu for her outstanding leadership.Due to the restaurant industry's average annual turnover rate of 75 percent of the workforce, a 90-day waiting period is critical. Restaurateurs want to offer affordable health coverage for our employees and lower the cost of that coverage. By allowing a 90 day waiting period, restaurant operators will be able to keep the cost lower for premiums of their employees that stay with the restaurant long term.We strongly believe a 90-day waiting period before coverage requirements begin could have a significant impact on lowering health-care costs our restaurateurs provide their employees – for both new and current employees. This reasonable waiting period will mitigate the resources spent to cover employees who have no intention of staying with the organization for an extended period of time.
No matter what the outcome of the national reform debate, Sweeney is still planning to make big changes in her own group's approach to health care.Borrowing from her AARP experience, she is negotiating with health insurance companies to create a unique set of policies that can be sold to her members through the restaurant association.The program has the potential to make health benefits available for small-restaurant owners and become an income generator for the association. A pilot program is scheduled for launch in January in Colorado and Pennsylvania. By midsummer, Sweeney hopes to be offering association-endorsed insurance in many other states.
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