FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Amy Ritter, (202) 251-5907
GOP’S HEALTH CARE BILL WOULD AFFECT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WALMART WORKERS
Walmart, McMillon stay silent when employees need them the most
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the GOP’s health care bill vote postponed in the Senate, there remains an odd silence from the country’s largest private employer, Walmart, on how this bill could affect its 1.5 million person workforce in the U.S. Even more odd, is that Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon was hand-picked to sit on President Trump’s Business Advisory Council, but hasn’t provided any comment on how to maintain a healthy workforce, or how this bill will affect retail employees in America.
It’s well known that Walmart’s low wages force thousands of its employees onto government assistance, many of them receiving Medicaid to help them and their families survive. For example, in Louisiana, Walmart workers’ children made up the largest pool of CHIP recipients as of April 2017. Similarly in Wisconsin, Walmart workers made up the largest group of BadgerCare recipients as of the fourth quarter of 2016. Walmart employees have historically appeared atop many lists of state Medicaid recipient counts.
The GOP’s health care bill would gut Medicaid funding; cause premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for low-income workers to “shoot skyward”; and would eliminate employer mandate penalties. With hundreds of thousands of Walmart associates in expansion states (see chart), proposed cuts to Medicaid would be especially devastating for Walmart workers; but, these policies in totality would be disastrous for all retail workers. It’s difficult to square this bill with McMillon’s assertion that “it’s important that people are covered.”
“At Walmart, we believe in shared responsibility and support an employer mandate that is broad and fair. We believe the mandate should cover as many businesses as possible, and cover part-time as well as full-time employees.”
But in 2011, Walmart eliminated health care benefits for employees working fewer than 24 hours a week. And in 2014, the company eliminated health care benefits for an additional 30,000 part-time employees working fewer than 30 hours per week. At the time of the 2014 cuts, Bloomberg reported than many of these workers would be eligible for subsidized plans through state insurance exchanges or Medicaid. Now as a result of the GOP bill, tens of thousands of Walmart workers could lose their insurance coverage as Medicaid shrinks and out-of-pocket costs balloon.
More recently, Walmart announced a partnership with Quest Diagnostics to provide basic health care services in some of their Florida and Texas stores. The announcement came with a commitment to focus on “providing accessible, affordable healthcare.”
However, we see no action from the largest private employer in the country to protect the health and happiness of thousands of its workers in the face of a GOP bill that would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured. Nor do we see any comment as to how this bill could affect Walmart’s customers and the company’s bottom line as it seeks to be a “one-stop shop for our customers’ everyday health and wellness needs.”
Even more concerning is that over half of the Senators who, as of Wednesday, June 28th, have been supportive of the GOP health care bill have received PAC contributions from Walmart in either the 2016 or 1018 campaign cycles, several receiving upwards of $10,000 (see chart).
From Making Change at Walmart Director Randy Parraz:
“A healthy workforce is a strong workforce. Shouldn’t Walmart and the Senators it funds try their best to make sure the company’s employees don’t lose a day of health care coverage? What exactly is Doug McMillon doing on Trump’s Business Advisory Council when hundreds of thousands of his own employees are standing on the precipice of potentially losing their insurance?”
|States Participating in ACA Medicaid Expansion|
|State||Total WMT Retail Units||WMT Associates|
|Senators Supportive of Health Care Bill|
|Senator||State||Quote||Wal-Mart Stores PAC Contributions 2016 Cycle||Wal-Mart Stores PAC Contributions 2018 Cycle|
|John Barrasso||WY||“a vast improvement over Obamacare”||$ –||$ 1,000.00|
|John Cornyn||TX||“The time to close the book on Obamacare is now.“||$ –||$ –|
|John Thune||SD||“will help stabilize markets that are already collapsing”||$ 10,000.00||$ –|
|Lamar Alexander||TN||“benefits for Tennesseans”||$ –|
|Luther Strange||AL||“I am encouraged by key provisions”||$ –||$ 2,000.00|
|Michael B. Enzi||WY||“Senate Republicans are proposing solutions”||$ –||$ –|
|Michael D. Crapo||ID||“a promising step”||$ 9,500.00||$ –|
|Michael Rounds||SD||“I think we can make it better, but I think we are moving in the right direction”||$ –||$ –|
|Mitch McConnell||KY||“It’s time for #BetterCare.”||$ –||$ –|
|Orrin G. Hatch||UT||“important step in our effort to replace Obamacare”||$ –||$ –|
|Pat Roberts||KS||“the best possible bill under very difficult circumstances.”||$ –||$ –|
|*Patrick J. Toomey||PA||“an important and constructive first step”||$ 10,000.00||$ –|
|Richard C. Shelby||AL||“I’m going to support this bill”||$ 2,000.00||$ –|
|Richard M. Burr||NC||“While not perfect, the bill does provide the funding we need”||$ 9,500.00||$ –|
|Roger Wicker||MS||“If enacted, Americans would be far better off”||$ –||$ –|
|Roy Blunt||MO||“this bill takes important steps”||$ 7,500.00||$ –|
|Tim Scott||SC||“a much better plan than Obamacare.”||$ 8,000.00||$ –|
 Based on data received from the State of Louisiana.
 Based on data received from the State of Wisconsin.
 Transcript of Fox Business News’ “Mornings with Maria”, June 23, 2015:
BARTIROMO: Well, I mean, this is an idea where policy and business really should be coming together. But what about other policies? I mean, for example, Obamacare and the cost of health care has been a big burden for American business. What’s your take in terms of the costliness and the pressure that the health care legislation has had?
MCMILLON: Well, we’ve got 1.3 million associates in the U.S. We want them all to be covered. And we’ve got a broad health care plan with an affordable offering for those that are just getting started but lots of options. And we’re proud of what we’re offering in terms of health care. As it relates to increased costs, as long as it’s a level playing field, we’ll deal with it just like everybody else will. But we think it’s important that people are covered.