Comparing Papa John's pizza to “the ass of a raccoon that drowned in your birdbath” political satirist Stephen Colbert mocked founder and CEO John Schnatter for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Schnatter, who is a well-known Republican fundraiser, said President Obama's health care overhaul will increase the cost of pizza and hurt business. Since then, he has been criticized for being a cheapskate and mistreating employees, with threats of a boycott by Democratic activists.
But local GOP officials and candidates, such as congressional challenger Brooks Wicker, have defended Schnatter's comments as standing up to the law that will hurt businesses still recovering from the recession.
Papa John's sent WHAS political editor Joe Arnold the following statement.
We certainly understand the importance of healthcare to our customers, our employees, small business owners and their employees. As a publicly traded company, we were responding to a direct question from an analyst on our quarterly financial conference call about the anticipated costs of complying with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
When certain business costs increase – such as fuel, ingredients or employee healthcare – there is an impact to the price of products and services.
The vast majority of Papa John's restaurants are owned by small business people, each of whom will be impacted in different ways by costs associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Papa John’s remains fully committed to providing our customers with better ingredients and better pizza at the best value.