The Affordable Care Act is law: Now what?

Obamacare has taken effect, but many institutions and contractors are still evaluating its impact.

Published in FSD Update

Ryan Winkler Cover Story

Mirlene and Nixon, two employees in the dining services department at the University of Maryland, in College Park, are among some 350 university employees who don’t have health insurance. For the past 10 years, the university has offered its part-time and seasonal employees—most of whom work in dining services or housekeeping—the Healthy Workers Program. The initiative provides employees like Mirlene and Nixon (who wished to be identified by first names only) free access to physicals and routine medical tests at the Campus Health Center.

The costs of these procedures is covered by whichever department the employee reports to, and the Health Center also works with employees with medical conditions to find specialists and surgeons to treat them at little or no charge.

Sister Maureen Schrimpe, quality coordinator for dining services, who oversees the program for the department, says the program makes good business sense; keeping employees healthy allows the department to run more smoothly while keeping customers and fellow employees safe.

But the future of Healthy Workers is grim, thanks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), legally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and more informally called Obamacare. Joe Mullineaux, senior associate director of dining services, says it likely will disappear. “If everyone is required to have health insurance, how could the university operate a program for people who don’t have insurance?” Mullineaux asks.

Healthy Workers’ shutdown would definitely have an impact on Mirlene and Nixon, even though they would qualify for healthcare benefits under the university plan, which offers co-paid insurance to any employee who has worked for it for at least three years. Both believe in the value of healthcare reform: “It gives people the opportunity to see a doctor,” Nixon says, and both say they plan on buying health insurance—but not yet. “I do not have it now because I do not have enough money,” Mirlene admits.

Pages

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
desserts plate

We’re knocking down a wall in our bar area, which will create a more inviting atmosphere and allow us to host a coffee and dessert bar in the space on off nights when the bar is closed.

Industry News & Opinion
nacufs award

Ohio University Director of Culinary Services Rich Neumann was on Wednesday evening awarded NACUFS’ 49th annual Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor.

Neumann’s foodservice career began as an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. After his first day as a student cook, he says, his production manager wanted to fire him because he was striving for perfection, not—as she put it—“now and fast.” But he kept with it, eventually moving up to student manager. “If I had quit, I would not be here today,” he says.

During...

Sponsored Content
iced coffee foodservice

From International Delight ® Iced Coffee and STOK ® Cold Brew.

As temperatures soar, consumers look for any way they can to cool down. Much of the time, that means sipping on a cold beverage. And for the many patrons looking for a pick-me-up, iced coffee is a go-to choice, as it wakes them up and cools them down.

It’s no surprise, then, that iced coffee is a growing opportunity for operators. In Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 59% of consumers say they ordered iced coffee at least once in the past month from foodservice locations. With demand continuing to...

Industry News & Opinion

Oxnard Union High School District in Oxnard, Calif., is ending its meatless Mondays initiative due to cost and a lack of participation, the Camarillo Acorn reports.

Meatless Monday , which was offered on Fridays during the most recent school year, was the least popular lunch day during the week, according to school officials. The district hopes that the menu change will encourage more students to purchase school meals and help eliminate the $2 million deficit in its nutrition budget.

While 61% of students in the district qualify for free meals, only around half eat at the...

FSD Resources