October 29, 2004

CA Dems to Investigate WM Healthcare Plan

I understand sincere motives to get better healthcare for the poor, but this seems more like political intimidation to me:

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - California lawmakers said on Thursday they would hold hearings to investigate claims that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) burdens the state with an unfair portion of the retailer's employee health-care costs.

Democratic members of the Senate Budget Committee also questioned whether California pension fund Calpers should consider selling off its estimated $1 billion investment in Wal-Mart stock because of the company's policies.

"The Senate Budget Committee will, as part of the budget process next year, investigate the extent that Wal-Mart does not provide coverage, and the extent that California taxpayers then pay for care for Wal-Mart's workers," said Senate Budget Committee chairman Wes Chesbro...

The decision to hold hearings follows Wal-Mart's aggressive campaign against a measure on the Nov. 2 ballot that would require larger employers in California to pay for health care coverage for workers.

On Tuesday, the world's biggest retailer said it would spend $500,000 to defeat Proposition 72 because supporters of the measure featured the company in a television ad claiming taxpayers paid millions more because Wal-Mart "won't provide affordable health coverage."

Walmart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin in a statement on Thursday said the advertisements claiming the company did not provide affordable health care were "outright lies" and that workers could get quality plans.

Posted by Kevin on October, 29 2004 at 09:57 AM