Friday, January 13, 2006


Wal-Mart is Dumb

Maryland's Wal-Mart Bill is Dumber

I'm no fan of Wal-Mart. They don't really sell anything that appeals to me, their stores are usually dirty and smell funny and they don't seem like a well run company from a PR perspective. That being said, I also don't think that the recently passed "Wal-Mart" bill in Maryland is a particularly good idea. The legislation would requires companies with more than 10,000 Maryland employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on employee health care or pay the difference into the state's Medicaid fund. Only Wal-Mart falls into that category.

Wal-Mart's stinginess with its employees is wrong, but as we all know, the health care system in this country is messed up - big time.Att any given time roughly 46 million of us don't carry any health insurance. Even for those of us who do have employer provided policies, escalating costs are crushing employer budgets. I know that's true for my office and for many of my clients. Targeting Wal-Mart alone, doesn't do anything to help fix the problem....Bringing some balance to the health care market, breaking down interstate barriers to insurance providers and eliminating state mandates would be a good start. In fact part of the reason health care is so expensive is that the same folks targeting Wal-Mart havelobbiedd to successfullyy mandate state coverage for a variety of medical procedures and treatments...boosting the cost of coverage and balkanizing the marketplace.

The state legislature has contributed to the rising cost of health care through such mandates, and at the same time is decrying employers who don't pony up for this ever rising benefit. Wal-Mart is stingy, a corrosive force in communities and just a plane gross store if you ask me. But I seem to be the exception, millions of people shop their daily, their low prices have helped curb inflation (and drive up the trade deficit) and it'saggressivee cost cutting strategy has expanded lower income people's access to 'quality' goods. As with most things Wal-Mart's story has two sides. Maryland's legislature should address larger insurance concerns rather than singling out specific employers..after all the legislature helped to create this problem.

I agree walmart does need to work on improving health care for employees as they deserve coverage.
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