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With Friends Like These: Wal-Mart, Health 'Reform' and Obama's 'Public Option'

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By Dave Lindorff

All you need to really know about the Obama health "reform" initiative is that it is being supported by retail giant Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart, a corporation that was built on the philosophy of treating workers like dirt (the company famously locks its employees inside its buildings at night, forces workers who have checked out of their shifts to continue to serve customers, off the clock, if they are asked for help on their way out of the store, has bitterly resisted offering any health benefits, and has one of the worst records of labor law violations of any company in the country), is now signing on as an endorser of the Obama health reform effort, saying:

"We believe now is the time for action on this vital issue. We commend the leadership of elected officials who are committed to enactment of reform, and we appreciate the commitment to inclusion and transparency which has been present thus far.

"We are entering a critical time during which all of us who will be asked to pay for health care reform will have to make a choice on whether to support the legislation. This choice will require employers to consider the trade off of agreeing to a coverage mandate and additional taxes versus the promise of reduced health care cost increases."

Why would a company like Wal-Mart, with its Paleolithic attitude towards its own workers, be supporting a plan that, at least ostensibly, claims to be trying to provide health coverage for the working poor?

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For the rest of this article, please go to: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. He is author of "Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains" (Bantam Books, 1992) and most recently of "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net http://www.opednews.com/populum/www.thiscantbehappening.net

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)

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