Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a month after the Maryland legislature overrode Governor Ehrlich’s veto of a bill that requires employers with more than 10,000 employees to provide health insurance to their employees, another Maryland politician has introduced a bill that would expand that requirement to every employer in the state.
A Democratic lawmaker is aiming to force Maryland’s small businesses to pay a minimum level of employee health benefits, expanding the so-called “Wal-Mart tax” to nearly every business in the state.
The bill by Delegate James W. Hubbard, Prince George’s Democrat, would require businesses with fewer than 10,000 employees to spend 4.5 percent of payroll on employee health care or pay an equivalent amount to the state’s Medicaid program. Nonprofit businesses with fewer than 10,000 employees would have to spend 3 percent or give the money to Medicaid.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to at least one person, Governor Ehrlich himself:
[T]he governor warned that the Wal-Mart bill was the first step toward a government-run, taxpayer-funded health system.
An Ehrlich spokesman said the prediction was rapidly coming true.
“The Maryland General Assembly has put virtually every small business in the cross hairs for a new tax,” spokesman Henry P. Fawell said. “Politicians are picking the winners and losers in the marketplace. … It is government-run health care.”
But can anyone truly say that this comes as a surprise ?