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Tags court decisions , health care issues , labor issues , Maryland issues , Wal-Mart issues

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Old 19th July 2006, 04:15 PM   #1
BPSCG
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Judge Rejects Maryland's Wal-Mart Health Care Law

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A federal judge today struck down a Maryland law that would have forced Wal-Mart to spend at least 8 percent of its payroll on healthcare for its employees.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled that the so-called "Wal-Mart Bill," which won overwhelming support in the Maryland General Assembly, ran afoul of a 30-year-old federal law intended to protect corporations from having to navigate a patchwork of benefits requirements as they moved from state to state.
Link.
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Old 19th July 2006, 04:23 PM   #2
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Damn activist judges!
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Old 19th July 2006, 04:32 PM   #3
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So when exactly did employers become morally responsible for providing health care to workers?
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Old 19th July 2006, 04:48 PM   #4
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What does morality have to do with legally? It really only works out to capitalistic practicality and idealistic politicallity.

In a more perfect world, this wouldn't be an issue. Wal-mart would either offer some degree of health care or not, as they saw fit, and in accordance with the economic laws of supply and demand (employees are a commodity too). In the real world people realize that they can get elected by passing laws contrary to the public's best interest and the constitution as a whole (state and federal).

I don't like wal-mart. I don't shop there if I have an easy choice. I perfer either the more expensive small shops or Target (a wal-mart wannabe).

Why? They suck in terms of customer service, neatness and selection. Everything is low-end.

So, give them the rope and, like K-mart, they'll hang themselves. No need to get the law mixed up in the mess. The market is self-correcting.
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Old 19th July 2006, 05:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post

So, give them the rope and, like K-mart, they'll hang themselves. No need to get the law mixed up in the mess. The market is self-correcting.
I think the problem is that they'd like to get the law out of the mess, but they don't know how. The whole context of this is the perception that Wal-Mart directs its employees to sign up for public benefits, and this allows them to pay less and make taxpayers pay their health costs, etc.

Which seems to implode on itself in a way. So could every other company, and as long as the benefits are on a sliding scale, I'd rather the people on them work... if they are not on such a scale, it is our fault for being morons.

Correcting a government caused problem with extra government. Classic.
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Old 19th July 2006, 07:20 PM   #6
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yeah, we pretty much allow Wal Mart to offer us such lower prices, by our taxes supporting health care and other benefits. Wal Mart claims to save the average family $500 a year.
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Old 19th July 2006, 07:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kittynh View Post
yeah, we pretty much allow Wal Mart to offer us such lower prices, by our taxes supporting health care and other benefits. Wal Mart claims to save the average family $500 a year.
In a way, yes
In a way, no

You can 'allow' it to any extent you like...just allow others to allow it to the extent they want and the problem will take care of itself. The government tried to fix the problem and found their own constitution did not allow it...of course, they knew that when they enacted the law...it just made them look good to do it (lets not fool ourselves here, high-placed state-level politicians likely love wal-mart, for many reason$).

Anyway, how 'bout we let the market correct itself. Wal-mart is heading for bust-ville, imo. Their stock may not yet reflect it but...well, visit any local store and decide for yourself. Then go to a Target and compare.
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Old 19th July 2006, 09:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
You can 'allow' it to any extent you like...just allow others to allow it to the extent they want and the problem will take care of itself. The government tried to fix the problem and found their own constitution did not allow it...of course, they knew that when they enacted the law...it just made them look good to do it (lets not fool ourselves here, high-placed state-level politicians likely love wal-mart, for many reason$).
According to the article, it was a federal statute, not the Maryland constitution, that preempted the law in question. And I don't see any indication that Maryland legislators "knew that" at the time.

Quote:
Anyway, how 'bout we let the market correct itself. Wal-mart is heading for bust-ville, imo. Their stock may not yet reflect it but...well, visit any local store and decide for yourself. Then go to a Target and compare.
I'm not an economist, but I don't really buy the "magic market forces will fix everything if we just let them" argument. Hasn't the classic invisible hand model been pretty well rejected at this point as, at least, insufficiently nuanced to reflect reality? Your position seems somewhat inconsistent in that you're arguing that we should rely on the efficient market to solve its own problems, but you're also calling into doubt the efficiency of the market itself ("Their stock may not reflect it yet, but..."). Even if it is true that the market would eventually solve the problem by forcing Wal Mart out of business, is the government supposed to stand by and let them treat employees like indentured servants until the market corrects itself?

Laissez faire didn't work very well in the nineteenth century, and I shudder at the thought of bringing it back for the twenty-first.
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Old 20th July 2006, 04:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JamesDillon View Post
Laissez faire didn't work very well in the nineteenth century, and I shudder at the thought of bringing it back for the twenty-first.
I shudder even more at the idea that government should be telling employers how to allocate its payroll.

In a truly free market, if such a law were implemented, Wal-Mart would react by cutting salaries by 8% across the board, thereby making the net cost of the law zero. But there's that pesky minimum wage law, so they can't do that. What it means is that WM would have to increase its labor costs, and, of course, that would mean passing the costs along to the customer at the cash register.

If the government could do that, what's to stop it from mandating that WM also spend 1% towards buying public transportation for its employees? Another 2% for day care? The list goes on.
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Old 20th July 2006, 07:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JamesDillon View Post
I'm not an economist, but I don't really buy the "magic market forces will fix everything if we just let them" argument. Hasn't the classic invisible hand model been pretty well rejected at this point as, at least, insufficiently nuanced to reflect reality? Your position seems somewhat inconsistent in that you're arguing that we should rely on the efficient market to solve its own problems, but you're also calling into doubt the efficiency of the market itself ("Their stock may not reflect it yet, but..."). Even if it is true that the market would eventually solve the problem by forcing Wal Mart out of business, is the government supposed to stand by and let them treat employees like indentured servants until the market corrects itself?
YOu might be able to make it work that way, you just have to remove the legal obligation to say treat the ill that hospital emergency rooms have. When they can kick people out who don't pay we will really start geting real ecconomics at play in the health care industry.

Of course people dieing of treatable illness seems to be something that people have a problem with especialy in say the parking lot of hospitals. It would also reduce health care for those who can afford it, as you would need to wait until it is shown that you can pay before you would get treatment, it would delay treatment enough in many cases to have poorer outcomes(basicly why give a thousand dolar a dose drug to someone with a heart attack if they can't pay for it, so you delay until you know that they can).

As people find this system to be unethical, you have a seperate problem, if they don't have insurance it doesn't matter if the state pays or not. If the state pays it goes to everyone in taxes, if the state doesn't pay it goes to everyone in the form of higher medical bills to make up for the mandatory loss.

So with walmart intentionaly limiting hours and such to prevent most employies getting health insurance, it means that any medical costs are going to be shared by all of us no matter what.

Immagine trying to run a business where you can not collect 30% of the time, but even if you know you will not be able to collect you still are required to provide the service. That is emergency medicine.
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Old 20th July 2006, 07:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
Anyway, how 'bout we let the market correct itself. Wal-mart is heading for bust-ville, imo. Their stock may not yet reflect it but...well, visit any local store and decide for yourself. Then go to a Target and compare.
Not here. The Wal-Mart is a packed zoo. Target has less customers, mainly lacking those wearing sweatpants and flannel shirts while dragging around three screaming kids wearing "future parole violator" T-shirts.

The question is whether Wal-Mart's purchasing methods will survive a downturn in public image.

Right now they squeeze vendors with the threat of not carrying their products. This is getting close to anti-trust territory. Even so, the lower their image goes, the more likely some big name like Coca-Cola tells them to shove it, then goes on a PR offensive against wal-mart (and pepsi) while being able to sell their products to other vendors for less (instead of more to make up for being squeezed by Wal-Mart.)

Lose recognizable brands and completely kiss goodbye all but bottom-scale customers which by definition have less income to spend...
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Old 20th July 2006, 07:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BPSCG View Post
I shudder even more at the idea that government should be telling employers how to allocate its payroll.
Government imposes expenses on corporations all the time. Taxes, regulatory compliance, minimum wage-- I don't see why this is any different.

Quote:
In a truly free market, if such a law were implemented, Wal-Mart would react by cutting salaries by 8% across the board, thereby making the net cost of the law zero. But there's that pesky minimum wage law, so they can't do that. What it means is that WM would have to increase its labor costs, and, of course, that would mean passing the costs along to the customer at the cash register.
Which is why I'm glad we're not in a truly free market. Yes, the Maryland statute at issue shifts the cost of employee health coverage at least partially onto WalMart customers, who are presumably better able to bear their proportionately smaller share of it. Sounds like good social policy to me.

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If the government could do that, what's to stop it from mandating that WM also spend 1% towards buying public transportation for its employees? Another 2% for day care? The list goes on.
There is nothing, in principle, to prevent that. It's purely a question of prudence. Should the government decide that such a policy is a good idea, I don't see any reason why it couldn't implement it. (Except of course for this federal statute, with which I'm not familiar).
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Old 20th July 2006, 08:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JamesDillon View Post
Even if it is true that the market would eventually solve the problem by forcing Wal Mart out of business, is the government supposed to stand by and let them treat employees like indentured servants until the market corrects itself?
Last time I checked, those "indentured servants" were free to look for employment elsewhere. Now, that was a few weeks ago, so maybe our entire capitalist system has changed since then.
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Old 20th July 2006, 09:31 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by JamesDillon View Post
Government imposes expenses on corporations all the time. Taxes, regulatory compliance, minimum wage-- I don't see why this is any different.
If Maryland is concerned about the healthcare of its citizens, then perhaps it should consider forcing all companies within its jurisdiction to pay for employee healthcare, as opposed to singling out Wal-Mart.


Quote:
Which is why I'm glad we're not in a truly free market. Yes, the Maryland statute at issue shifts the cost of employee health coverage at least partially onto WalMart customers, who are presumably better able to bear their proportionately smaller share of it. Sounds like good social policy to me.
Except that they are singling out one company out of the thousands that operate in the state of Maryland. Perhaps the employees of other companies would like better healthcare, eh?

Besides, if you tell Wal-Mart that it must pay a certain percentage for healthcare, and they pass that cost along to the consumer, it appears to be a defacto tax on the lower-end citizens who save when shopping at Wal-Mart (To say nothing that Wal-Mart might reduce new hires or phase out old jobs).

It would certainly be a questionable policy if, by raising costs for the lower-end consumer, those consumers are less able to afford their own health care. I don't know of any studies on it, so I can't say that is happening.
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Old 20th July 2006, 09:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Walk The Line View Post
If Maryland is concerned about the healthcare of its citizens, then perhaps it should consider forcing all companies within its jurisdiction to pay for employee healthcare, as opposed to singling out Wal-Mart.

Except that they are singling out one company out of the thousands that operate in the state of Maryland. Perhaps the employees of other companies would like better healthcare, eh?
The law in question did not single out Wal-Mart; it simply required that all employers with over 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of their payroll on health care, or to contribute to the state's health care program, in order to close a loophole that would permit a large employer to force the state to pick up the cost of health care for its employees. It just happened that Wal-Mart was the only employer engaging in this shady practice.

Quote:
Lawmakers said they did not set out to single out Wal-Mart when they drafted a bill requiring organizations with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits -- or put the money directly into the state's health program for the poor.

But as debate raged in the Senate yesterday, it was clear that the giant retailer, which has 15,000 workers in Maryland, was the only company that would be affected.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2005Apr5.html

Quote:
Besides, if you tell Wal-Mart that it must pay a certain percentage for healthcare, and they pass that cost along to the consumer, it appears to be a defacto tax on the lower-end citizens who save when shopping at Wal-Mart
I guess you could look at it that way, I'm not sure how accurate that is. I would think that there are economic forces that tend to cap the degree to which Wal-Mart can afford to raise prices for customers, so at least a portion of the additional expense would likely come from its corporate coffers, which is, I believe, what Maryland was hoping for.

Quote:
(To say nothing that Wal-Mart might reduce new hires or phase out old jobs).
That's certainly a possibility, and I hope that the Maryland legislature considered that possibility when deliberating on the law in question. However, I rather suspect that Wal-Mart already operates on the leanest possible staff, such that reducing hiring or phasing out jobs might not be possible. In any case, yes, this is a factor to consider, but it isn't determinative of the cost-benefit analysis.

Quote:
It would certainly be a questionable policy if, by raising costs for the lower-end consumer, those consumers are less able to afford their own health care. I don't know of any studies on it, so I can't say that is happening.
Well, again, I hope that Maryland took that into account when considering this law. However, presumably those lower-end customers would themselves be eligible for state health care benefits if they are unable to afford health care themselves, so as long as the Maryland statute lowers the aggregate operating cost of the state health care benefit system, I don't think this objection is very strong even if it is true that some Wal-Mary customers who otherwise would not have needed state benefits are now forced to take advantage of them.
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Old 20th July 2006, 10:31 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by JamesDillon View Post
The law in question did not single out Wal-Mart; it simply required that all employers with over 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of their payroll on health care, or to contribute to the state's health care program, in order to close a loophole that would permit a large employer to force the state to pick up the cost of health care for its employees. It just happened that Wal-Mart was the only employer engaging in this shady practice.
Specifically, there are a number of other large employers in Maryland, but none of them are stiffing the state on health care costs. From that same article:

Quote:
DeMarco said the bill did not aim solely at Wal-Mart. Johns Hopkins University, Giant Food and defense contractor Northop Grumman Corp. have enough employees to fall under the bill's requirements. But all meet the 8 percent threshold for for-profit employers or the 6 percent mandated for nonprofits.


Quote:
I guess you could look at it that way, I'm not sure how accurate that is. I would think that there are economic forces that tend to cap the degree to which Wal-Mart can afford to raise prices for customers, so at least a portion of the additional expense would likely come from its corporate coffers, which is, I believe, what Maryland was hoping for.
I suspect that a third alternative, that Wal-Mart simply stopped doing business in Maryland, wouldn't have bothered many legislatures either. Wal-Mart tends to be a money pit for state and local governments; it generates less revenue for the governments than other similarly-sized commercial enterprises, and in some cases has been demonstrated to result in an actual loss.

In part due to practices like this.
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Old 20th July 2006, 12:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
Specifically, there are a number of other large employers in Maryland, but none of them are stiffing the state on health care costs. From that same article:
So why is Wal-Mart “stiffing the state” as opposed to the state stiffing Wal-Mart? Who is really responsible for providing health care for the citizens of Maryland? I don’t follow the argument that just because a company is big and rich, it is obligated to provide health insurance for Maryland’s minimum wage earners. If Maryland thinks it is not getting enough revenue from Wal-Mart is should just raise its taxes. That will help them take care of all the poor, not just the ones that work at Wal-Mart. Meddling with there internal business practices will just lead to problems.
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Old 20th July 2006, 12:19 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ohmer View Post
Meddling with there internal business practices will just lead to problems.
Not meddling in internal business practices led to all sorts of problems. I think the modern practice of closer government regulation is, in general, working out much better.
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Old 20th July 2006, 12:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Ohmer View Post
So why is Wal-Mart “stiffing the state” as opposed to the state stiffing Wal-Mart?
Wal-Mart is refusing to absorb costs as a part of doing business that other large corporations do. As a result, Wal-Mart employees have their health-care costs covered by the state, which in turn covers them through taxation of other people who have no connection with Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart's really stiffing the Maryland taxpapers.

Quote:
Who is really responsible for providing health care for the citizens of Maryland?
The citizens of Maryland, of course. Through their elected representatives, who are responsible for making sure that payment for that health care is equitably distributed. Wal-Mart is not paying its fair share, as compared with other large employers.

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I don’t follow the argument that just because a company is big and rich, it is obligated to provide health insurance for Maryland’s minimum wage earners. If Maryland thinks it is not getting enough revenue from Wal-Mart is should just raise its taxes.
That's more or less what it did.
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Old 20th July 2006, 12:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
Wal-Mart is refusing to absorb costs as a part of doing business that other large corporations do. As a result, Wal-Mart employees have their health-care costs covered by the state, which in turn covers them through taxation of other people who have no connection with Wal-Mart.
Now when you say this, do you mean that Wal-Mart refuses to pay their workers healthcare needs and when their workers can't afford it themselves, the state must pick up the bill, or is there some sort of arrangement that Wal-Mart has with Maryland where Maryland pays the healthcare costs out of its own pockets?
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Old 20th July 2006, 12:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Walk The Line View Post
Now when you say this, do you mean that Wal-Mart refuses to pay their workers healthcare needs and when their workers can't afford it themselves, the state must pick up the bill, or is there some sort of arrangement that Wal-Mart has with Maryland where Maryland pays the healthcare costs out of its own pockets?
The first, more or less.

Wal-Mart (mostly) refuses to pay health care benefits (insurance, mostly) to their workers. As a result, their workers are uninsured and their medical costs get picked up through the state-funded programs.

Every other large employer in Maryland offers health care to their employees.

Obviously, that's a high-order generalization. Obviously top executives of Wal-Mart get health care as one of their perks, and I suspect that neither the University of Maryland nor Johns Hopkins offer health insurance to their part-time student employees (they'd be covered under the student health plan anyway). But I believe that JHU does offer health benefits, for example, to the janitors who sweep out Remsen Hall, while Wal-Mart does not.

Maryland's employment tax rates were set up assuming a certain level of participation by major employers in covering employee health costs "in house," as it were. Failure to participate at that level places an undue burden on the state health care system. So Wal-Mart was faced with a choice -- either participate at a more "normal" level, or pay additional fees directly into the state treasury.

The next step will be to deny them that choice; if he appeal fails -- well, 77 percent of the Maryland electorate approve of the bill. I suspect the next measure will simply be a direct tax, which will not run foul of the relevant federal law.
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Last time I checked, those "indentured servants" were free to look for employment elsewhere. Now, that was a few weeks ago, so maybe our entire capitalist system has changed since then.
This response typifies people's misunderstanding of how economics works in the real world.
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:20 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ohmer View Post
So why is Wal-Mart “stiffing the state” as opposed to the state stiffing Wal-Mart? Who is really responsible for providing health care for the citizens of Maryland? I don’t follow the argument that just because a company is big and rich, it is obligated to provide health insurance for Maryland’s minimum wage earners. If Maryland thinks it is not getting enough revenue from Wal-Mart is should just raise its taxes. That will help them take care of all the poor, not just the ones that work at Wal-Mart. Meddling with there internal business practices will just lead to problems.
So we need socialized medicine then
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:28 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Almo View Post
This response typifies people's misunderstanding of how economics works in the real world.
And how does economics in the real world prevent people from looking for other employment?
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:49 PM   #25
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Quick point: It seems like the issue here is that the state of Maryland wants WalMart to pay 8% extra than smaller employers. If health insurance for residents is the true goal here, why not offer a credit on Maryland withholding (up to 8%) to large corporations for health insurance contributions?

That would close all the gaps on this law.
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Old 20th July 2006, 01:54 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Almo View Post
This response typifies people's misunderstanding of how economics works in the real world.
Your reply typifies people's misunderstanding of how economics works in the real world.
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Old 20th July 2006, 02:09 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Your reply typifies people's misunderstanding of how economics works in the real world.
Your reply to his reply typifies your understanding of his misunderstanding of how economics works in the real world...which is to say, no degree of explanation will convince those that choose to get their economic lessons from their preferred political party's websites.
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Old 20th July 2006, 04:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
So we need socialized medicine then
We already have a kind of chaotic quasi-socialized medicine. I submit the OP as evidence. Instead of dealing with the problem directly we dance around it with unfunded mandates to provide emergency care to everyone and meddling with how businesses compensate their employees. There has to be a better way.
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Old 20th July 2006, 04:33 PM   #29
Rob Lister
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Originally Posted by Ohmer View Post
We already have a kind of chaotic quasi-socialized medicine. I submit the OP as evidence. Instead of dealing with the problem directly we dance around it with unfunded mandates to provide emergency care to everyone and meddling with how businesses compensate their employees. There has to be a better way.
I submit that it is the very existance of [regulated] insurance that inflates the cost of the services insured, whatever that service is.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Deep-pockets.

yada.

Un-regulated insurance plans would likely not so inflate...but that's just opinion. Still, there's something about pulling actual green out of your pocket that wakes you up to the real cost and makes you ask; "Well, how much if I forego the new blades in the removal of the tumor?"

I bet I'm the only guy my doctor has ever met that tries to dicker with him on how much a blood work-up is going to cost. He once actually threw in a free Thyroid test if I agreed to get the rest of the specturm.
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Old 21st July 2006, 08:19 AM   #30
drkitten
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Originally Posted by wastepanel View Post
It seems like the issue here is that the state of Maryland wants WalMart to pay 8% extra than smaller employers.
Minor misstatement. The state of Maryland wants Wal-Mart to pay 8% of its payroll on health care. That's not "8% more" than anything, just a flat 8%.

That's also a fairly typical number, in that the other large employers are already doing that. Small employers typically can't, in part because small employers can't get the necessary group health care discounts because they don't have enough employees.

Quote:
If health insurance for residents is the true goal here, why not offer a credit on Maryland withholding (up to 8%) to large corporations for health insurance contributions?
Because that wouldn't actually solve anything. It would in fact make the problem worse. The problem is that health care costs for Wal-Mart employees are being picked up in disproporate percentage from state funds. (Wal-Mart doesn't offer health insurance, therefore their employees are uninsured, and therefore treated through the state-funded health system.) Offering a tax credit to Wal-Mart would have the same net effect -- Maryland gives the money that would otherwise be used to pay for the treatment of the uninsured Wal-Mart employees.

And it would be worse because Grumman-Northrup and JHU would want the same credit, so it would end up costing Maryland more.

So I suspect we're just going to see a new direct 8% payroll tax, against which health care costs can be taken as a deduction.
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Old 21st July 2006, 08:51 AM   #31
BPSCG
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Housing is expensive, can be even more expensive than health care coverage, and is just as much, if not more, a necessity of life.

Therefore Wal-Mart should be required to pay 8% of its payroll for housing for its employees.

Discuss.
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Old 21st July 2006, 08:52 AM   #32
Rob Lister
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
That's not "8% more" than anything, just a flat 8%.

...

That's also a fairly typical number, in that the other large employers are already doing that. Small employers typically can't, in part because small employers can't get the necessary group health care discounts because they don't have enough employees.
Please read what you wrote and explain how apples = oranges? 8%=8%. The flat 8% is the apple. What you get for that 8% is the orange. It's still a level playing field for the business owner, large of small.

Your argument seems to be that since the employees of a small business will get less for their employer's contribution than the employees of a large business then the small business should be allowed to contribute a lesser [or no] percentage!

Quite nonsensical is you ask me, but maybe you disagree and would like to edumacate me.

How 'bout if we let all business, big and small, contribute what they want and just let the market decide.

Last edited by Rob Lister; 21st July 2006 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 21st July 2006, 08:53 AM   #33
Jaggy Bunnet
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
Minor misstatement. The state of Maryland wants Wal-Mart to pay 8% of its payroll on health care. That's not "8% more" than anything, just a flat 8%.

That's also a fairly typical number, in that the other large employers are already doing that. Small employers typically can't,
So if small employers are paying nothing, surely forcing Wal-Mart to pay 8% is going to mean they are paying 8% more?

Also, why 6% for non-profit organisations? Is it acceptable for them to stiff the state with part of the cost or do their employees get sick less often than the for profit sector?
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:02 AM   #34
drkitten
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
Please read what you wrote and explain how apples = oranges?
I'm sorry?

Wastepanel asked whether the issue was whether Wal-Mart needed to pay "8% more," i.e. an increase of 8% over its current payments. And the answer is no. It would need to pay a total of 8% of its payroll to be in compliance with the law.

Since its current payments are estimated at about 5% of its payroll, it would actually need to increase it's payments by 3% of its payroll, or 60% increase over current payments.

Quote:
The flat 8% is the apple. What you get for that 8% is the orange. It's still a level playing field for the business owner, large of small.

Your argument seems to be that since the employees of a small business will get less for their employer's contribution and would the employees of a large business then the small business should only be required to contribute a lesser or no percentage!
You know, there are lots of decaffienated products on the market that are just as tasty as the real thing. Or perhaps you just need to get out more.

It's actually fairly standard practice (and legally accepted in the United States) to put regulations on large businesses that would be economically onerous on smaller ones precisely because of the size difference. A good example of that is the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which prohibits "employers who have more than fifty employees on their payroll" "discriminating against employees who choose to take time off of work to care for certain medical needs of their own, or to care for their family members, including newborn and adopted children." If you're a small business and your sole employee takes time off for maternity leave, you can get away with not keeping her job open (because that would be akin to requiring you to go bankrupt), but an organization the size of Wal-Mart cannot.

Similarly, the EEO requires "employers with more than 500 employees to compile and submit an annual affirmative employment plan."

Wecome to the real world.
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:03 AM   #35
drkitten
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Originally Posted by Jaggy Bunnet View Post
So if small employers are paying nothing,
Who said that small employers are paying nothing?
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:05 AM   #36
drkitten
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Originally Posted by BPSCG View Post
Housing is expensive, can be even more expensive than health care coverage, and is just as much, if not more, a necessity of life.
But is not traditionally employer-supplied, nor is there an established amount of that all other large employers in the state provide, nor is it traditionally supplied by the state in the absence of employer subsidy.


Quote:
Therefore Wal-Mart should be required to pay 8% of its payroll for housing for its employees.

Discuss.
Sure. It's an obvious straw man with no basis in reality. That "discussion" didn't take long, precisely because the straw man had so little intellectual merit to begin with.
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:11 AM   #37
Jaggy Bunnet
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
I'm sorry?

Wastepanel asked whether the issue was whether Wal-Mart needed to pay "8% more," i.e. an increase of 8% over its current payments. And the answer is no. It would need to pay a total of 8% of its payroll to be in compliance with the law.
What he actually said was "to pay 8% extra than smaller employers". I don't think he was suggesting it was an 8% increase, simply that they would be subject to a provision that does not apply to smaller (but still extremely large - 9,999 employees) businesses.

Quote:
It's actually fairly standard practice (and legally accepted in the United States) to put regulations on large businesses that would be economically onerous on smaller ones precisely because of the size difference. A good example of that is the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which prohibits "employers who have more than fifty employees on their payroll" "discriminating against employees who choose to take time off of work to care for certain medical needs of their own, or to care for their family members, including newborn and adopted children." If you're a small business and your sole employee takes time off for maternity leave, you can get away with not keeping her job open (because that would be akin to requiring you to go bankrupt), but an organization the size of Wal-Mart cannot.

Similarly, the EEO requires "employers with more than 500 employees to compile and submit an annual affirmative employment plan."

Wecome to the real world.
Exempting small employers is one thing. Can you find any such discrimination that is only aimed at employers with more than 5,000 employees (never mind the 10,000 limit included in this legislation)?

Pretending this was not specifically aimed at Wal-Mart requires leaps of mental gymnastics I am not capable of.
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:12 AM   #38
BPSCG
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
But is not traditionally employer-supplied,
So what? Neither was health care coverage until WW II; it was a way for employers to get around wartime wage restrictions.

Quote:
nor is there an established amount of that all other large employers in the state provide, nor is it traditionally supplied by the state in the absence of employer subsidy.
It isn't? What do you call public housing, then?
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:15 AM   #39
Jaggy Bunnet
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
Who said that small employers are paying nothing?
Is there anything that legally requires them to pay something?

Also, would you care to answer the question about the lower rate for non-profit organisations?

I suspect there is a non-profit organisation in the state that would be covered who pay more than 6% and less than 8%. But of course the law does not target Wal-Mart.

Do people working for non-profit organisations not get sick as often? Or are they allowed to stick the state with part of the cost?
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Old 21st July 2006, 09:15 AM   #40
drkitten
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Originally Posted by Jaggy Bunnet View Post
Pretending this was not specifically aimed at Wal-Mart requires leaps of mental gymnastics I am not capable of.
Oh, it's specifically aimed at Wal-Mart. Similarly, the citation I got from the city a few years back for not cutting my grass was specifically aimed at me. My neighbors didn't get one because they cut their grass.

Only Wal-Mart is stiffing the state in this particular way. They identified a particular loophole in Maryland's tax structure, and they are exploiting it, to their own profit and at the cost of the State of Maryland and the citizens and taxpayers of Maryland. So far, only Wal-Mart is trying to exploit that loophole.

The State of Maryland is acting (trying to act) to plug that loophole.
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