The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Will Maryland's Wal-Mart law spur corporations to push national health care?

It's an idea that's been out there a while-- not in regard to this case, but the idea that corporations, facing the same losing battle in health care costs as little folks like me, will start to push for (horrors!) a national system. After all, what we have now even hangs middle-class people out to dry when it comes to coverage.

Given the pressure on Wal-Mart to quite relying on government health aid to increase their bottom line, this really could set a big precedent. As Wal-Mart apologists love to claim, the company is simply doing what all businesses do-- make more money. But none of my business professors ever suggested cheating the government as an optimal business strategy. To Bush Republicans, that's the job of poor working stiffs or-- even worse-- welfare queens who never worked a day in their lives. Like Paris Hilton, except with no money.

But when massive corporations game the system, it can cost the taxpayers billions. But we wouldn't want to restrict the markets, right? Isn't that strictly verboten?

It all comes down to this: our healthcare system needs to be fixed. From the article:

Maryland's bold new law requiring Wal-Mart and other large companies to increase health care coverage of their workers has given new life to supporters trying to pass similar legislation nationwide.

The state's Legislature on Thursday passed a law that directs firms with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payrolls on employee health benefits. The law targeted Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, whose low pay and scant benefits have drawn widespread criticism.

In at least 30 other states, plans are under way to draft and introduce similar "fair share" laws. A proposal in Rhode Island would require companies with 1,000 or more employees to spend 8 percent of their payrolls on health benefits. A bill in Washington state would require companies of 5,000 or more to spend 9 percent of payroll on employee health care.

If the Dems can't muster the leadership to stop a kook like Samuel Alito from being placed on the nation's highest court, maybe they could use news like this to start fighting back against the relentlessly corporatist agenda of this administration. Which, if I may be so bold as to point out, about 60% of the nation stands against!

Highly recommended reading, especially for the arguments of the pro-business lobbyist, who somehow manages to suggest that requiring companies to insure workers doesn't lead to broader coverage of America's workers.