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Fox News Host And Guest Horrified Over Wal-Mart’s Promise To Provide All Employees With Health Insurance

Reported by Ellen - July 1, 2009 -

Co-authored by Brian

On yesterday’s (6/30/09) Your World, guest host Alexis Glick didn’t bother to hide her horror that Wal-Mart had signed a letter endorsing President Obama’s plan to require big businesses to give their employees health insurance. “What in the world is going on at Wal-Mart,” she asked as if the very notion of ensured coverage were an outrage. With video.

“I’m sort of speechless... Why would Wal-Mart do this?” Glick asked guest Craig Smith, CEO of Swiss America. So much for “we report, you decide.” The “fair and balanced” wasn’t worth much either, as Smith was on the same page as Glick. He said that when he heard the news, “I scratched my head. Who in their right mind raises increased costs in their business during a time of recession?” He called it “an absolute jobs killer.” There was nobody on with an opposing view. There was also nobody to point out that at the same time Wal-Mart endorsed the president’s plan, it also sought a guarantee from the government that health costs will be contained.

Glick said it’s interesting that Wal-Mart has chosen this path, considering it had been "criticized in the past for not providing the right benefits or expensive benefits to its employees."

Smith agreed, "That's a great point.” He then wrongly suggested that the only employees not currently covered by Wal-Mart’s insurance plan are on Medicaid. “How in the world does an employer with 1.4 million employees, of which 2.5% of them are currently on Medicaid. How can you put those 35,000 employees on insurance and not have your costs go up? It’s impossible.” Hmm, is Smith suggesting that public health insurance is better than private? Or would he rather see those 35,000 people not get any health insurance?

Regardless, what neither Smith nor Glick addressed, is that there is also a sizeable chunk of Wal-Mart employees who have no health insurance at all. According to Wal-Mart estimates, it’s 6% of its 1.4 million workers. According to my calculations, that comes to 84,000 employees. Smith added, “Other large corporations are hanging on by a thread, and if they have increased costs,they're going to start cutting jobs. This is a jobs killer. I don’t care how you weigh it out, it's gonna hurt employment." His voice rising, he said, “And we can’t afford to lose jobs now, Alexis!”

Smith had apparently decided, without asking how the public felt, that it was better for employers to offer low-paying jobs than to offer health insurance. But neither he nor Glick offered any evidence that it was an either/or situation. Nor did either of them consider the effects of lowering health costs, as Wal-Mart is seeking, may have.

Glick squealed, "Cost cutting initiatives have saved a lot of jobs, and if we do something like this, the risk is that people may need to get laid off in order to afford these rising costs. What sbout the families themselves?"

Craig "You're absolutely right... Look, I'm not a politician, I'm a businessman. Any businessman will tell you that his biggest bang for his buck in cost cutting is employees because you get rid of the salary (and the benefits.)" He continued, "In the case of Wal-Mart, they're going to take those increased costs, increase their prices to the public... It will be a tax, a hidden tax on the middle class as they pay more at Wal-Mart for goods and services. This is a horrible bill."

Alexis "Yeah, this is pressing."

Comment: It’s also quite a “hidden tax” on the middle class if they can’t get decent health insurance. But Glick and Smith seemed far more interested in fear mongering about Obama’s plan than in offering any solutions for the more than 45 million or more Americans who, unlike themselves, are uninsured.