Sunday, February 11, 2007

How Wal-mart may save us all

Coverage & Access | Wal-Mart, SEIU Outline Themes To Meet Health Coverage Goal by 2012 -

One of the more intriguing unusual developments in the evolving health care reform debate is Walmart's push to extend care to all workers. Of course no one is under the illusion that Wal-mart has suddenly developed a heart. The company is clearly still feeling the sting of continued assaults by various labor and left-wing critics. But in case anyone felt that Wal-mart had finally become too big to come up with new and creative solutions to it's problems, they have once again placed themselves in a leading role.

The above article, cited on NPR, PBS, and FoxNews today says that Wal-mart has teamed up with a leading union organization to develop a plan of universal health care reform. At any other time, and by any other author, such a report would likely deserve no attention at all. But Wal-mart, by virtue of it's shear size, can reshape the field of play with such moves. One can look at the effect of Walmarts policy shifts on various other industries for perspective (Wal-mart's decision, for instance, to install solar panels on their stores is reportedly expected to place the solar industry on several year's back order).

In addition, the timing, coming on the heals of moves by several states' (Massachusetts and California most notably) decision to extend health care to all citizens, may just be the push congress needs to finally get off their ass. Our nation's uninsured, the working/nonworking poor, and most of all, those debt laden 20-somethings among us, can only dream...

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