Proving yet again that the dumbest ideas are the ones that seem to be the most popular, Connecticut appears to be on the verge of following in the footsteps of Maryland and passing a so-called “Wal-Mart” law.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Democrats in the General Assembly want Wal-Mart to pay more for employee health insurance, but Republicans said Thursday the proposal is bad for business.
The so-called Fair Share Health Care bill would require Connecticut retailers with more than 5,000 employees in the state to pay at least $2.50 per worker per hour for health insurance. Similar bills backed by organized labor are being proposed in about 30 states this year.
Employers that pay less than $2.50 per employee per hour would be required to contribute the difference to the state, which would use it to offset state-funded insurance.
Lawmakers hope to encourage companies to provide improved health insurance instead of giving money to the state, though proponents of the bill acknowledged they have no way of knowing whether that will happen
As I pointed out two weeks ago in my post about a bill in Massachusetts that would be even more broad-reaching than the Maryland or Connecticut legislation, the answer to that question depends on which alternative is cheapers. If it turns out that it is less expensive for employers to pay the $ 2.50 per worker per hour to the state than provide health insurance, then they may well do that. The result being a boatload of employees without health insurance and dependent on the state.
And, like legislators in Maryland, the Democrats in Hartford are not ashamed of admitted that this law is targetted only at one company:
Democratic legislators who support the bill say that in Connecticut it would affect only Wal-Mart and Stop & Shop, though Wal-Mart, which employs more than 9,000 state workers, is the target.
“The state is subsidizing the richest company in the world, a company that provides very low wages and very low benefits,” said House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden.
This is another bill that deserves watching.