6.01.2005

Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Funds for Healthcare

This is a huge travesty- the largest company in the world relies on our tax money to provide healthcare for its underpaid employees.

We need to change this ASAP.

Here are some recent statements.

From SEIU:

SEIU: Wal-Mart Health Care Welfare Must End
6/1/2005
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324

Madison: Today SEIU members will join other allies at the State Capitol for a noon rally to urge lawmakers to stop Wisconsin taxpayers from having to subsidize Wal-Mart’s health care. Wisconsin's tax-supported health care programs for the working poor spend millions of dollars each year covering the health costs of the most profitable company in the world. Faced with unavailable or unaffordable health coverage at Wal-Mart, workers are turning to taxpayer-funded healthcare programs such as BadgerCare and other Medicaid programs. This cost shift to Wisconsin taxpayers comes at a time when Wisconsin’s Medicaid program is facing a serious budget crisis.

“U.S. taxpayers pay $1.5 billion subsidizing Wal-Mart Medicaid costs,” commented Dian Palmer, RN, President of SEIU Wisconsin State Council. “It is wrong for Wal-Mart to force taxpayers to pony up 15% of their $10 billion in annual profits through subsidized health care,” continued Palmer. “Wisconsin taxpayers must no longer be forced to provide health care welfare for Wal-Mart.”

Wisconsin taxpayers are subsidizing health insurance for 3,765 people who are Wal-Mart employees or the spouses and children of Wal-Mart employees. 1,252 Wal-Mart employees are participants in BadgerCare, the state’s health insurance program for low-income working families. At Wal-Mart’s recent Media Day on April 5th, CEO Leo Scot actually said, ‘In some states, the public program may actually be a better value.’ Responding to these comments Palmer stated, “Badgercare offers excellent health coverage at a very low cost and we’re happy Wal-Mart recognizes it as the bargain it is. But surely Wal-Mart doesn’t believe that just because something is a god value that you get to just walk out the door with it.”

The cost to taxpayers for the coverage provided to Wal-Mart’s Medicaid participants is estimated at $4.75 million, with the State of Wisconsin covering $1.8 million of that amount.

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart has a long history of abusing taxpayers. In June 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Wal-Mart had agreed to pay $2,866,904 to settle allegations that the company had submitted false prescription claims to federal health insurance programs such as Medicaid. The company’s pharmacies were alleged to have dispensed partial or “short” prescriptions due to insufficient stock, while it billed the government programs for the full quantities.

http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=37910

From Sen. Dave Hansen:

Sen. Hansen: Calls on Wal-Mart to Pay its Fair Share for Health Care

6/1/2005
Contact: Sen. Hansen, 608-266-5670

(Madison)— Today, state Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) joined fellow legislators and citizen and labor groups in calling for Wal-Mart to provide decent health insurance benefits to its employees or reimburse the state for Medical Assistance costs used to offer coverage to its employees and their families.

“Wal-Mart is taking advantage of Wisconsin taxpayers by setting up employment benefit plans that take full advantage of state health care programs like Badgercare, despite the fact that paying the $2-3 million a year to provide coverage to its employees would be about as noticeable to them as a gnat is to an elephant,” said Hansen.

A recent Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article revealed that Wal-Mart employs 809 individuals who are enrolled in the BadgerCare program. This reliance on the state health insurance program for low-income residents costs Wisconsin taxpayers approximately $2.7 million a year.

“Wal-Mart has plenty of resources to provide health care to its employees, or at the very least reimburse the state for its employees’ use of BadgerCare,” said Hansen. “There is nothing novel about requiring a contribution to health care costs. This is something that’s required of nearly all Wisconsin workers, and I don’t think that it’s too much to ask of Wal-Mart.”

A number of bills authored by legislative Democrats will soon be introduced in both houses of the state legislature to address this issue.

http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=37930

5.31.2005

This is fake, but relevant....

A political action group is applying pressure on the Kansas State Board of Education to ban any and all references to the 20th century from school textbooks, a spokesman for the group confirmed today.

"These textbooks state unequivocally that the 20th century occurred, as if that were a proven historic fact," said Gordon Lavalier, the group's leader and spokesman. "The simple truth is, the 20th century is and has always been nothing but a theory."

If the group is successful, starting in the fall of 2005, Kansas students would be taught from newly reconstituted history books that end with the year 1899.

Among students at Kansas City's John F. Kennedy High School, which the group has demanded be renamed after William Jennings Bryan, reaction to the ban on the 20th century was mixed.

Read it all here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7966101/site/newsweek/

5.30.2005

It's Finally Been Said...

President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/5427823.html