WASHINGTON, DC – A new study released by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) examines the Senate health care reform bill, and finds that a provision meant to hold corporations accountable actually encourages companies to duck their fair share of the costs of health care reform.
The report examines the Senate bill by looking at its impact on America’s largest and most irresponsible private employer – Walmart. As written, the employer responsibility provision—“Free Rider”—would provide no overall health care cost savings because it would:
- Incentivize the hiring of a largely part-time workforce, and encourage reducing workers’ hours as a way to eliminate company responsibility for health care costs.
- Force low-income Walmart employees into high-deductible, company-provided insurance.
- Make few, if any, Walmart employees eligible for tax credits to purchase better insurance through the health insurance exchange.
- Continue Walmart’s dependence on federal and state subsidies for Medicaid for its employees, and encourage Walmart to have even more employees dependent on Medicaid.
- Provide little or no incentive for Walmart to provide better care to its workers.
These findings have galvanized a broad coalition of working families and their supporters to call on Senators to fix the flawed provision of the bill to ensure that President Barack Obama achieves his goal of quality, affordable health care for every American. Concerned organizations that have signed on to a comprehensive ad campaign include the Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Auto Workers, the United Farm Workers, USAction, and the United Steelworkers. Beginning with full page ads in Capitol Hill publications and a national Web presence, the group will roll out print ads across the country over the next few weeks.
The findings of this report put a bright light on just how critical employer responsibility is to health care reform. With much of America’s job growth expected to be in retail over the next few years, it is clear that not including strong employer responsibility provisions will result in a part-time workforce dependent on already overburdened state programs for health care.
The complete report can be viewed online at www.fixthebill.org