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January 27, 2013

Business owners refusing to buy insurance

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The family relied on food stamps for support while his mother was training to be a nurse. But that changed as soon as she got her degree.

“She went to the food stamp office and said, ‘I’m done. I have my degree, I’ve got a job, and I don’t need these anymore.’ “

Across the street at Zocolo’s Mexican Restaurant, owner Sherry Seaberg also does without health insurance herself and does not offer it to her employees.

She says it’s not a question of politics or philosophy, but of survival.

“We have very small margins,” Seaberg says. If she paid for full coverage, she says, “a taco is going to cost $15, my customers aren’t going to buy them, and my business is going to close.”

Seaberg says she doesn’t think her wait staff and kitchen help are particularly concerned about the lack of health coverage. Most are under the age of 35 and in relatively good health.

Many are working part-time and would prefer to receive a bigger paycheck than to pay a portion of the cost of an employer-provided health plan, she says.

Seaberg said she thinks the cost of health care has spiraled out of control because patients are required to bear little of the cost and therefore seek more services than they really need.

“I believe that personal responsibility has to come into play for any health care system to work.”

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