Harrisburg, Pa., Although Pennsylvania lawmakers say they are appreciative of the jobs Wal-Mart has brought to the area, critics are saying the jobs have come with a hidden cost: an unusually high percentage of Wal-Mart workers do not have company-paid health insurance and are relying on taxpayer-subsidized care.
To gather data and help combat the problem, lawmakers have proposed legislation that requires companies with 20 or more employees to issue annual reports stating how many of them are receiving Medical Assistance. Sponsors of the bill say it is the first step toward mandating that large companies pay their fair share of health costs.
In response to this and other states’ similar efforts, Wal-Mart has responded that it is being unfairly targeted. “They are nothing more than a political attempt by organized labor to make Wal-Mart less competitive in certain states,” said a Wal-Mart spokesman.