Friday, January 13, 2006

Maryland, Wal-Mart and Medicine - Hate the Game, not the Playa

Usually, I enjoy a good round of Wal-Mart bashing. They're big, they're arrogant, they screw everyone they can, and they get rich by doing so. They're like an insurance company with a smiley face. I don't shop there if I can possibly avoid it.

All that said, I have sympathy for the devil right now. Maryland has passed a law over the governor's veto requiring all companies with over 10,000 Maryland employees (hint, Wal-Mart is the only one) to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits -- or put an equivalent amount of money directly into the state's health program for the poor.

Why single Wal-Mart out for our health care system woes? In an era where automakers are building plants outside of the US because paying for health care adds $1500 to the cost of a car, why point to Wal-Mart? In an era where the US spends 16 percent of its economic output on health care (the highest percentage ever in our history and way above what any other country pays), why point to Wal-Mart?

Our health care system is neither the best in the world, nor the most efficient. Smart people need to work hard to come up with real solutions. Politicians need to find the courage to promote those solutions in the face of fear, ignorance and vested interests.

Blaming Wal-Mart won't help.

3 Comments:

Blogger emawkc said...

This looks like more like "redistribution of wealth" to me.

"Look, there's a company with a lot of money, let's pass a law that says they have to pay for our stuff."

Look for more of the same from other states in the near future.

1/13/2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

I have mixed fealings on this.

On one hand, most of Walmart's employees don't make enough to pay their own bills, let alone pay for insurance and medical bills. Who pays for all that? The state. Why should they not contribute to the health of their employees?

Otoh, I agree, why pick on them.

Seeing as how I've worked at Walmart in the past, and know people that work at walmart currently, I know how much they suck, and it's just not the same company since Sam Walton died.

When I weigh the pros and cons, I really think Walmart should pay.

1/14/2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger Ralphie_Faggins said...

I'd have to assume this law will be overturned in the courts. Isn't there protection against laws that single out individual citizens or corporations?

1/15/2006 3:53 PM  

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