Two Major Companies Could Join Wal-Mart In Backing Employer Mandate

Target, the second-largest U.S. discount retailer, and Kelly Services, a temporary worker agency, said "they may support Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s call for mandatory medical insurance by large companies as part of a proposed overhaul of U.S. health care," Bloomberg reports. Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, favors the employer mandate, a position that has drawn fire form the industry's main trade group, the National Retail Federation. "The positions of the two companies signal a widening split in the business community over the issue, a core element of President Barack Obama’s proposed changes."

"Labor unions and allies of Democrats crafting an overhaul of the nation's health system insist an employer mandate is essential to making health coverage broader and more affordable," Bloomberg reports. However, an executive for Wegmans, a supermarket chain that opposes the employer mandate said it would be costly for businesses and that "[i]t's more important for folks to have jobs." Both Target and Kelly said their support hinged on what conditions, such as provisions that constrain the costs of insurance, are part of the final package (Rosenkrantz and Przybyla, 7/14).

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