Tom Oliphant in the Globe.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy came up with an idea the other day that could nudge the debate over the country's worsening health insurance crisis both nationally and in Massachusetts.Read the rest here then share your thoughts.
Why not have the states publish lists of large employers (50 workers or more) who have full-time people receiving publicly financed healthcare like Medicaid and the program that helps insure children of the less well-off? Fifteen states already do so.
The legislation -- Kennedy's co-conspirators are Democrats, Senator John Corzine of New Jersey and Representative Anthony Weiner of New York -- is aimed at monsters like Wal-Mart, infamous for its luscious benefits for company big shots and nonexistent coverage for ordinary employees, whose insurance is then left to taxpayers. The most common estimate is that more than 600,000 Wal-Mart employees, nearly half of its workforce, have to use public safety-net programs.
What Wal-Mart doesn't do, out of profits that total $10 billion or so, costs taxpayers more than $200 million to provide -- including $61 million in Florida and some $3 million in Massachusetts. In 12 states Wal-Mart is the largest employer with workers on Medicaid and other assistance programs. The fact remains, however, that half the uninsured in Massachusetts and in many other states work at outfits with fewer than 25 employees.