A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Watch What They Do -- Not What They Say

Watch What They Do -- Not What They Say

April 22, 2006

Back in January, when the Maryland Legislature was considering whether to override a gubernatorial veto of the so-called "Wal-Mart bill" -- which requires that for-profit employers with 10,000+ workers have to pay at least 8% of gross payroll on health benefits -- many were predicting Wal-Mart would financially punish the state for their uppity behavior. Wal-Mart sure doesn't like the new law, but punish the state? Don't think so ... (from Kaiser Daily briefing)

Wal-Mart President and CEO H. Lee Scott on Wednesday during a conference with reporters in Arkansas said a Maryland law requiring Wal-Mart and other large employers to spend a certain amount on employee health care is "ridiculous," the Baltimore Sun reports. The law requires employers with more than 10,000 workers in the state to spend at least 8% of their payroll on employee health care or to pay into a fund for the uninsured. Wal-Mart is the only company that will be directly affected by the law. The law will take effect in January 2007. Asked by reporters about the law, Scott said, "The word that comes to my mind is ridiculous, although I probably can't say that." Scott said the law would not prevent the company from expanding in Maryland because consumer demand there is strong. "It's just part of what you deal with," Scott said, adding, "I think a lot of these things are short-term issues".