JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local business owners worry they'll have to cut employees and raise prices if they have to pay for health care for all employees.
It's really putting extra stress on a lot of local businesses. We talked to one restaurant owner who is trying to help one of its employees who is dying and doesn't have insurance.
The sound of the cash register ringing is good news for owner Desiree Downing. It means people are still spending money in a tight economy, but she's hoping they'll put more money in a jar on the counter.
It's for her cook Mike, who is dying of cancer, can't afford health insurance and doesn't get it from the restaurant. "It's costly just trying to find it for ourselves. With 35 to 45 employees, it can be expensive," said Downing.
It's Downing's way of trying to lend a helping hand. Her business can't buy health insurance for employees right now. She'd be affected if President Obama's plan for health care for all passes. She's one of the thousands of businesses that would be forced to now pay for employees to have it.
She tried paying for insurance 21 years ago, but "It overwhelmed the business. I couldn't keep it afloat. I gave them all a raise and said to put it towards insurance for themselves," said Downing.
These days she's glad people will still work at the restaurant without insurance, but if she has to start paying the high prices for it, the prices on the menu may also be changing. That means more money out of your wallet. "They're like my children, my employees are. They understand what I can do and can't do. They still stay with us and are raising their family through our business," said Downing.
So far, people's donations have helped Mike buy a hospital bed. He's had numerous surgeries and still needs to undergo another one.