County Legislators Want Retailers to Pay for Medical Benefits
By George Anderson
A bill backed by both Republicans and Democrats in Suffolk County, NY would require businesses that meet certain revenue and square footage requirements to set aside $3 for every
hour worked by an employee to cover health insurance costs.
Minority Leader William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) introduced the proposal, which has the support of Majority Leader Peter O’Leary (R-Moriches). It is said to be similar to other bills
being considered around the country.
“The box stores come to our area and compete against a lot of local mom-and-pop stores and chain stores that have good health care benefits,” Mr. Lindsay told Newsday.
“This bill is trying to level the playing field a little bit.”
Not far from Suffolk County, the New York City Council is considering approval of the Health Care Security Act. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg is said to be opposed to the legislation,
the Council may have enough votes to overcome a veto and make New York the first city in the U.S. with a law requiring employers to pay for healthcare benefits.
Retailers such as BJ’s, CVS, Kmart, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart would be among those required to set aside monies if the Suffolk County measure was adopted.
“Employers that pay a competitive wage and pay excellent health benefits shouldn’t be subject to government-run health care,” said spokesperson Tiffani Bruce of Walgreens.. “We
think that we do that.”
Mia Masten, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, said the company offered benefits “competitive with other retailers.”
Moderator’s Comment: Should government establish minimum coverage standards for employer sponsored health care plans based on company size?
George Anderson – Moderator