Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Wal-Mart!?!

Yes, Wal-Mart has come out in favor of an employer mandate on insurance.

This is real end of the world stuff, cats sleeping with dogs and the marshmallow guy appearing in city streets:

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, joined hands with a major labor union Tuesday to endorse the idea of requiring large companies to provide health insurance to their workers, a move that gives a boost to President Obama as he is pushing for health legislation on Capitol Hill.

“Not every business can make the same contribution, but everyone must make some contribution,” Wal-Mart’s chief executive, Michael T. Duke, wrote in a letter to White House and Congressional officials, adding that he favored “an employer mandate which is fair and broad in its coverage.”

There are, of course, caveats, there are always are, and Wal-Mart’s top lobbyist is saying that there have to be some sort of strict cost controls.

My guess is that the company has two goals here:

  • To make sure that it’s not required to offer better insurance than it does now, which is at relatively high cost to the employee and has relatively high deductibles.
  • An attempt to forestall unionization efforts at its stores, which are gaining steam.

But I’m a cynic.

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