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WSJ vs. McDonald’s, Obama Administration

Earlier today, the WSJ broke a story that McDonald’s might drop its health insurance coverage for hourly employees due to onerous Obamacare regulations. Not true, says Team Obama and McDonald’s:

McDonald’s and the Obama administration are firing back at a Wall Street Journal report saying that the fast food giant is considering dropping its “mini-med” health insurance for hourly workers because of the new health care reform law.

“Media reports stating that we plan to drop health care coverage for our employees are completely false,” said Steve Russell, a senior vice president and head of human resources for McDonald’s, in a written response to the article. “These reports are purely speculative and misleading.”

That sentiment was echoed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today.

“The McDonald’s story is flat out wrong, and I am sorry that they were not more accurate in their reporting,” she said.

But then Sebellius said:

HHS today called the story premature, saying guidance on the new medical loss ratio rules have not even been issued.

New rules will be implemented after the National Association of Insurance Commissioners submits its report, due at the end of the year. The NAIC is still soliciting comments on its draft proposal.

“The medical loss ratio isn’t even settled,” Sebelius said at a reporters’ breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “As soon as we have a regulation that has a process in it we will begin those discussions.”

I believe that was the point of the WSJ piece. The fact that the loss ration isn’t settled is why McDonald’s — and other employers — are worried about what the Obamacare regulations will do to their plans.

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