Los Angeles City Council Opposes Opening of Wal-Mart Supercenters, Citing Potential Effects on Health Care
The Washington Post on Tuesday looked at efforts by the Los Angeles City Council to ban Wal-Mart from opening its supercenters in the community in part because city leaders say doing so could raise the number of uninsured residents and increase demand at public hospitals and clinics (Sanchez, Washington Post, 2/3). A recent Rodino Associates report commissioned by the city council found that Wal-Mart Supercenters could strain the local health care system and threaten the area's unionized supermarket industry if the company is allowed to expand into Los Angeles without being required to increase employee benefits and wages. The report found that Wal-Mart's limited health benefits could prompt its employees to go to hospital emergency departments and seek medical assistance from publicly funded programs (California Healthline, 12/9/03). Eric Garcetti, the city council member who is proposing the restrictions against the company, said, "We don't believe their business model is good for the kind of economic development that we want in the places where we need it most," adding that city council members "want people to realize that the 10 cents they may save on a jar of pickles could mean paying another $5 in taxes for all the extra visits to the local emergency room" (Washington Post, 2/3).
"Newspapers are filled with stories about companies cutting health care, families spending more for care, and more working families falling into the swelling ranks of the uninsured," Art Pulaski, executive secretary treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, writes in a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece. Elected California officials should "provide some real leadership to solve our health care crisis" by helping end the ongoing grocery worker strike, supporting SB 2, and bringing everyone together to "tackle skyrocketing [health care] costs and offer real solutions for all of California's people," Pulaski writes (Pulaski, San Jose Mercury News, 2/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.