There has been a lot of talk this week about the surprising move by Walmart to publically support President Obama’s health care reform plan, supposedly positioning themselves as a leader in the fight to bring health care to all Americans. As we mentioned in a post on our blog yesterday, this might be easier to swallow if Walmart had any history of leading by example. Instead, they usually do just the opposite.
Given Walmart’s long record of trying to build a positive reputation on ineffective work-arounds to health care coverage for employee, the recent revelations about sacrificing quality for cheap perescription drugs, and their deceptive PR campaign that severely overstated their workers’ health care coverage, it’s not hard to understand our skepticism. [get the details in the extended entry]
Despite all of their feel-good rhetoric, the reality is that nearly half of Walmart’s 675,000 employees – not to mention hundreds of thousands of children of these employees – remain without health care. The situation is not much better for the employees who are covered by Walmart’s plan, as highlighted by a Baltimore doctor in a letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun. The submission details just how bad that coverage is for patients and doctors. Here is a short excerpt:
“I have several Wal-Mart employees as my patients. I can in all honesty declare that Wal-Mart, a wealthy corporation, for years got away with providing its employees no health care coverage at all or the type of coverage from which doctors could barely eke out payments.
Out of pocket expenses for patients are outrageous with this coverage. Hand me a Wal-Mart health insurance card, and I will let out a spontaneous sigh of exasperation because I know from experience what lies ahead is a runaround for meager compensation after I have delivered all the services.”
While we would love to think that Walmart has seen the light and is onboard to help every American attain the health care they deserve, we tend to agree with this fed up doc that “Wal-Mart is an image conscious opportunist.”
Stay up to date with the campaign against Walmart’s destructive policies at www.wakeupwalmart.com