Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and America’s largest employer has announced that they will stop offering health insurance to new hires. Walmart is blaming the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) for the decision to deny healthcare to their newest employees.
Walmart currently employs more than 1.4 million workers. Walmart has declined to disclose how many workers would be affected by the change in policy.
One of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act is the expansion of Medicaid to cover people who make under a certain level of income. Labor and Health Care experts are saying that a majority of Walmart’s workers will qualify for Medicare under the new law. If an employer has a worker that receives insurance through Medicare than their employer has to pay a fine. The fine is substantially less than the cost of health care for the worker.
Conservatives are arguing that this provision is where President Obama and Congress are trying to take over healthcare. By making the fine cheaper than providing healthcare to their employees it will force all of those employees who are of limited means into a government program.
Democrats counter that there has to be a mechanism to give health care to employees who make so little money that to pay premiums totaling thousands of dollars a month is completely cruel.
The Supreme Court recently upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. With President Obama’s reelection and the Senate being held by the Democratic Party the law will be implemented in full with basically zero options for repeal. Top Republicans have even acknowledged that it may be time to move on from their platform of repeal and replace.