Wal-Mart Backs Obama's Health Care Plan - TheStreet

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) - Get Report is backing parts of President Barack Obama's push for universal health care.

The big-box discounter, a traditionally right-leaning business, said it supports requiring employers to offer health insurance to workers, an integral part of President Obama's goal to provide near-universal coverage to Americans.

"We are for an employer mandate which is fair and broad in its coverage," Wal-Mart said in a letter to congressional and administration officials. "Any alternative to an employer mandate should not create barriers to hiring entry-level employees."

That was a reference to some proposals in Congress to have employers pay the Medicaid costs of new hires. Critics say that would discourage the hiring of low-income people.

As the nation's largest private employer, Wal-Mart's endorsement could complicate the opposition's united front.

But what's in it for Wal-Mart? It seems it's all part of the retail giant's plan to improve the image of how it treats its employees.

The flip side of mandatory employee health insurance: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is lined up in opposition, says it could force companies to cut jobs and drive others out of business.

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