Skip to comments.Wal-Mart Fights Bill Listing Workers on Public Health Care
Posted on 06/02/2005 10:06:30 PM PDT by Eternal Sea
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is fighting legislation that would let Minnesotans know how many of its workers are on public health care assistance in this state.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant recently sent two executives to St. Paul to lobby against the bill, which the Legislature may vote on in special session this month.
"This is not health care reform," said Nate Hurst, public and government relations manager for Wal-Mart. "This is a campaign against Wal-Mart."
The legislation would create a list of companies whose workers are enrolled in MinnesotaCare and other government health care programs.
Proponents of the bill, whose chief author is Sen. Becky Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, say the public has a right to know which employers are draining the state's public health care system. They say the bill does not target Wal-Mart, but will highlight ways the state can work with companies to improve health care programs.
Last fiscal year, the state spent $270.2 million for MinnesotaCare, which provides assistance for people who don't have access to affordable insurance.
"If it's true what people say, that big multinational companies are outsourcing health care to taxpayers, then it would be good to have a handle on which ones," said Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul. "It's just information."
In other states that have compiled such lists, Wal-Mart is at or near the top among employers with workers enrolled in state medical assistance.
The state of Wisconsin reported last week that Wal-Mart employees topped the list of BadgerCare recipients, a health care program for low-income residents.
A bill there would force retailers to reimburse the state for providing the health care needs for their underpaid and underinsured employees. The bill would apply only to stores meeting certain criteria, such as stores that exceed $20 million in sales in a taxable year and allocate less than 10 percent of payroll to employees' health insurance.
Nationwide, 24 states have bills pending that would create lists of employers with large numbers of workers enrolled in public health programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
Labor groups, such as the United Food and Commercial Workers union, worry that other retailers will reduce their health care benefits in order to remain competitive with Wal-Mart. They've used the lists as evidence that Wal-Mart is not providing affordable health care insurance to its employees.
Wal-Mart officials insist such rankings warp its record. As the nation's largest employer, Wal-Mart inevitably will fall at or near the top of most state rankings, the company said.
As of October, Wal-Mart employed 17,329 people in Minnesota.
"We'll be the largest on any list, just because of our size," Hurst said.
The company is also concerned about how the data are collected, Hurst said. If a state compiles a list in December, for instance, the numbers may look abnormally high because Wal-Mart employs a large amount of seasonal employees.
In a May 18 letter to state legislators, Wal-Mart said it helps lift employees off public health care by giving them jobs.
Wal-Mart estimates that 160,000 people have been taken off the list of public health care programs nationwide by accepting jobs at Wal-Mart.
"Please be assured that we do not encourage the use of public assistance, and we do not structure our plans with the idea that there will be a governmental safety net," Wal-Mart said in the letter.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Last Updated: 6/2/2005 7:33:11 AM
Many stores do not like unions, not just Walmart. Unions don't do anything for employees these days. They promise better wages and benifits, but in reality any small gain you make in wages is lost because of high union dues. sometimes you end up making less than you did without a union.
So walmart closed it's store in Quebec. Who's the biggest loosers? The government, because they loose a big tax revenue source, and the community. And not just walmart workers, but plumbers, electrical contractors, the paving company, local trucking, etc etc.
Wal-Mart has been caught employing illegal aliens and has been fined for it.
I recently spoke with a friend who works for a furniture/cabinet making factory in the town where we live. In this right to work state she works long hours for low pay & NO benefits, is made to stay for hours on 30 minutes prior notice. If you voice dissatisfaction you are GONE. And in 2005 she is making less per hour than I was making per hour in 1976.
Are they going to list all of the state employees and public school teachers?
"Out-of-pocket medical expenses covering co-payments, deductibles and uncovered health services averaged $13,460 for bankruptcy filers who had private insurance at the onset of illness, compared with $10,893 for those without coverage. Those who initially had private coverage but lost it during their illness faced the highest cost, an average of $18,005. "
Anyone that doesn't have at least $20k in reserve for emergancies is irresponsible and deserves to lose their home.
Everyone should have AT LEAST 6 months earnings in reserve.
The body bags will be the price we pay for today's 30cents off a case of toliet paper. This administration knows the facts and is willing to feign their non-exsistence and offer all manner of disingenuous and fallacious rationale' to justify the movement of American jobs, technology and dollars to Asia. Their horizon is no farther than the next quarterly P&L statement and corporate officers' bonuses. Yet, another example of the rampant dishonesty at large in the White House today.
What the hell were we thinking last November when we returned this gang of liars and thieves to power. Of course, that's a rhetorical question, we knew what they are and chose to close our eyes. That's exactly what we did in the 1930s when we shipped millions of tons of scrap iron to Japan that our fathers and grandfathers saw as it came back at them in the form of Jap Zeros, artillery shells, naval vessels and 500lb. bombs.
The best source of the analysis of this ticking time-bomb can be found at the National and separate services war colleges and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Twenty-seven (+/-) years ago an Air Force Lt. Colonel colleague student at the War College did just such a study --it then being only a hypothetical question- as his dissertation. He was very perceptive and his prescience amazingly accurate.
We should not use government intervention to limit the free spread and competition among bugs. This would be the speciesism - a hate crime.
Besides, you prevent that way the natural culling of the more sickly and less fit humans. Freemarketeers will get angry!
Walmart is in business of selling ready made products. The volume of sales is limited by the already existing purchasing power. If Walmart moves out the smaller stores will return, hiring people.
Other developed countries have some forms of national health care. And it costs them LESS, and the results (like average life expectancy) are BETTER!
One step closer to National Health Care.
Freepmail me if you wish to be assimilated!
Sounds fair to me. But let's be consistent here -- doesn't the public then also have a right to know the name, address, personal/household income, immigration status, etc. of every single person in the state who receives any kind of government assistance?
Somehow I don't think Ms. Lourey would co-author a bill calling for that kind of full disclosure.
I believe you. They are dangerous for America. Wal Mart is not the only one, but the biggest one. How can those of us who want to skirt around the unions organize against them effectively? Is there anything we can do besides "whining" on the internet and writing the politicians? Boycotts tend to be counterproductive, and I don't like to go that route except I won't shop there.
Should only the "protected classes" have access to adequate insurance through their employer?
Your second sentence is true, but your first is not. Only the truly indigent never have to pay a dime. The rest of the uninsured have to pay, they give you a period of time to make payments, even if you are uninsured and working at low-pay jobs.
That is also driving health-care costs up.
Thanks for the support...
Things were different then. People were more self-sufficient , did not have (maybe they felt a need for medical insurance but couldn't articulate it), and there was no social security yet which wouldn't have done the flu victims any good other than getting them off of it early thus saving the system money.
From what I can tell in reading old newspaper clippings, the indigent poor and ill went to "poor farms" or managed to pay for their own medical care, including hospitalizations in sanatoria and operations. Surgery was really risky then, too.
It's hard to see where your grandmother was coming from except that if it became public that the family might be a "carrier", I suppose she may have feared being avoided socially like the plague. Was there some other sense of shame connected with the epidemic?
Besides, you prevent that way the natural culling of the more sickly and less fit humans.
As a point of interest, the flu of 1918 attacked mostly the most physically fit. They believe this was due to a earlier bug that passed through that infected the less fit and built up their immunity.
This issue transcends political affiliations imo.