Walmart has found yet another way to give its already underpaid employees the short end of the stick. According to a copy of the company’s health care policy obtained by The Huffington Post, the nation’s largest private employer will begin to deny insurance to new employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week. The company can also choose to eliminate health coverage for current workers whose hours dip below the 30 hour threshold.
The decision would shift the financial burden from Walmart, which already rakes in exorbitant profits every year, to you, the taxpayer.
“Walmart likely thought it didn’t need to offer this part-time coverage anymore with Obamacare,” Nelson Lichtenstein, the director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara, told The Huffington Post. “This is another example of a tremendous government subsidy to Walmart via its workers.”
Still think you’re saving money by shopping at the big-box retailer?
The Huffington Post:
Labor and health care experts portrayed Walmart’s decision to exclude workers from its medical plans as an attempt to limit costs while taking advantage of the national health care reform known as Obamacare. Among the key features of Obamacare is an expansion of Medicaid, the taxpayer-financed health insurance program for poor people. Many of the Walmart workers who might be dropped from the company’s health care plans earn so little that they would qualify for the expanded Medicaid program, these experts said.
“Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
For Walmart, this latest policy represents a step back in time. Almost seven years ago, as Walmart confronted public criticism that its employees couldn’t afford its benefits, the company announced with much fanfare that it would expand health coverage for part-time workers.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.