Walmart Backs Employer-Provided Health Care
In a surprise twist, Walmart officials send a letter to President Obama endorsing employer-provided health insurance.
July 7, 2009
The motive is unclear, but retail giant Walmart has come out in support of an employer-provided health care model.
The company made its position known via a letter to President Obama, according to a recent Los Angeles Times story. President
Obama has said employer-provided coverage is vital to helping cover the more than 46 million people in the country who lack health insurance.
"It's pretty clear that we're advocating for reform," Greg Rossiter, a Walmart spokesman, told L.A. Times reporter David Lazarus last week. "We've said for some time that we support health care reform. It needs to be comprehensive and it needs to happen."
Many view Walmart's stance as a positive move forward to providing health care coverage to all U.S. citizens, but the motivation behind it is still unclear. In past years, Walmart has come under fire for its own dismal coverage for its 1.4 million workers.
"Walmart has been working hard to improve its image on health care," Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, told Lazarus. "They've moved from being a bad guy to a good guy."
Walmart's opinion is typically pretty influential, and its stance could have a ripple effect on smaller businesses should employer-provided health care be mandated.
According to the story, many large and medium-sized retailers may find a health care mandate too great a challenge amid "ever-narrowing profit margins." For Walmart, the increased cost could be offset by new customers.
Read the full story here.