There’s a brief detour in Michael Tanner’s pamphlet "Bad Medicine: A Guide to the Real Costs and Consequences of the New Health Care Law" (see previous blog posting) that explores a little-noticed segment of the law that revamps health care in this country as never before.
For those in the restaurant and vending business the cost is not insignificant but it pales in comparison the rest of the bill.
Under the heading of "Growing the Nanny State," Tanner points out that the bill requires restaurant chains with at least 20 locations to post calorie counts next to prices on every menu item. The restaurant must have available on demand the calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and protein. Similar information must be posted on food and beverage vending machines.
"But, while they are unlikely to significantly reduce obesity, the new regulations will impose a cost on restaurants and consumers." Tanner writes. "Estimates suggest that the cost of analyzing calories runs as high as $1,000 per menu item. In addition there will be the cost of changing all those menus and signs. And, the cost of posting the information on vending machines has been estimated to be at least $56.4 million for the first year.
"While the financial cost of this provision is not substantial, especially in the context of other taxes and regulatory costs imposed by this law, it does represent yet another blow against individual responsibility."