01/15/2006: A good start....
Over at Newsrack, Thomas Nephew gives us a rundown on his home-state's newest legislative initiative: the Fair Share Health Care Fund Act, which was recently enacted into law when both houses of the Maryland legislature voted to overrule Gov. Ehrlich's veto. Basically, the Act requires that Maryland companies with over 10,000 employees to either pay 8% of payroll to health benefits, or make up the difference with payments to a state Medicaid fund. The purpose, of course, is to make companies like Wal-Mart recompense the state for health-care costs incurred by the large number of their employees who, lacking employer provided health-care coverage, avail themselves of the state provided Medicaid coverage). In comments, Thomas, a Tennessee native, speculates on whether a similar law might catch on here:
I'm going to be watching my home state of Tennessee to see what happens there -- if (1) Bredesen gets interested and can (2) make it work in TN, maybe Kaine can in VA.Lately, I've become disenchanted enough with local and state politics that I won't be holding my breath, myself, though it would be a great thing if it happened.
All in all, it's probably a long shot in TN, but people there don't like free-loading megacompanies either. Plus now that they've belt-tightened the bejesus out of Tenncare, there may be some support for getting Wal-Mart and other big companies to pay for some of their folks still showing up on the rolls.
Len on 01.15.06 @ 09:30 AM CST