Walmart-Endorsed Obamacare Can’t Save Employees from Skyrocketing Insurance Costs

Mike Duke photoWe told you so. Last week Walmart announced it will severely cut back health benefits for its employees, proving that the Obamacare law that the company endorsed will not save the day for its many low-income workers.

Under the new company policy, new part-time associates will no longer be eligible to receive health insurance. Reuters also reports that the amount Walmart puts in employee healthcare savings accounts will be cut in half.

“The current healthcare system is unsustainable for everyone and like other businesses we’ve had to make choices we wish we didn’t have to make,” said Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter. “Our country needs to find a way to reduce the cost of healthcare, particularly in this economy.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, costs of premiums and deductibles for employees could increase by up to 40 percent. The newspaper also noted that Walmart is in the minority of large corporations that offer health insurance to part-time workers, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Also from the Journal:

That and other concessions were part of Walmart’s mid-2000s campaign to placate its liberal critics, a bid that reached its apotheosis in its embrace of ObamaCare…. The larger danger is what happens when the new law’s subsidized insurance exchanges become operational in 2014 and scramble the labor market. The Obama plan exposes businesses to ‘pay or play’ penalties that are supposed to keep the employer market from unraveling and that Walmart supported in part to shackle its smaller competitors. But once the regulations are finalized, many businesses may look rationally at the new incentives and conclude that shedding their health costs and paying the penalties is cheaper than the status quo.

The temptation to go in that direction may be too strong for Walmart and its CEO Mike Duke to resist. NLPC President Peter Flaherty called attention to the company’s misguided political activities in remarks at the Walmart annual meeting in Fayetteville, Ark. on June 3: 

Wal-Mart supported ObamaCare, too, which was never about health care. And it is even more unpopular now with the American people than when it passed, raising the question of how Walmart, one the biggest engines of American capitalism become a backer of these Socialist schemes. 

It worked like this. Corrupt unions like the Service Employees International Union – the SEIU – and other anti-business activists targeted Wal-Mart for defamation. Instead of fighting back and defending the good name of the company, the CEO at the time, Lee Scott decided to cave in. Mike Duke has intensified these policies of appeasement. 

Walmart even hired one of its critics, Leslie Dach, as a Vice President to guide this process. Today, Mr. Dach openly trashes Wal-Mart’s legacy in order to promote the “different corporate culture” he has helped introduce.

I happen to believe that Sam Walton’s company has a pretty good legacy, and Leslie Dach should stop disrespecting it.

Walmart is in the grip of political ideologues. 

And Flaherty delivered similar remarks a year earlier at the 2010 annual meeting: 

Walmart endorsed ObamaCare and its employer mandate. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Retail Federation all opposed this mandate.

More importantly, the American people don’t want ObamaCare. It will raise costs, kill jobs, reduce accessibility, and explode the number of uninsured.

It is bad enough that Walmart endorsed something so ruinous, but it is even worse that it did so jointly with the corrupt Service Employees International Union — SEIU.

In several parts of the country, SEIU was indistinguishable from the radical group ACORN before it had to disband.

Mr. Duke, how can you associate the good name of this company with such a bad idea, and how can you lie down with such dogs? I can see the fleas from here.

If Walmart customers have any money left after paying health care premiums, maybe they can go shopping.

Now company associates will have a tougher time affording their food and basic needs purchases at Walmart, even with their employee discount.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center and is executive director of American Tradition Institute.


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Flaherty Blasts Wal-Mart on Fox News Channel (video)

Wal-Mart Support for ObamaCare, Cap and Trade Ripped at Annual Meeting

No Surprise Here: Wal-Mart Endorses Obama’s Health Care Mandate

Flaherty: Wal-Mart Embraces Obama Health Care to Appease Unions (CNBC video)

Is Wal-Mart Too Liberal? (Newsweek)

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