California officials face criticism from union leaders over plans to let Walmart and other retailers enroll shoppers in subsidized private health insurance.
Covered California, the state's new health insurance exchange, has asked retailers to help customers learn about their options and assist them in buying federally subsidized insurance, a plan to reach out to 5 million Californians eligible for coverage in 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
The plan has angered union leaders and consumer advocates who contend Walmart has no place offering healthcare advice when many of its employees do not qualify for company benefits and rely on taxpayer-funded programs, the Times said.
"We are appalled and offended that the exchange would contemplate partnering with Walmart and other retailers notorious for failing to provide healthcare benefits," said James Araby of the United Food and Commercial workers Union's Western states Council.
Others, including critics of Walmart, say the opportunity to reach out to the uninsured, while they are shopping, is too good to pass up.
"Walmart isn't a white knight, but I am all in favor of anything that gets people enrolled. Put a table in Walmart, Best Buy, Costco and CVS pharmacies. I'm all for it," said Nelson Lichtenstein, a University of California at Santa Barbara professor and frequent critic of Walmart.
Most Popular Stories
- Fantasy Football Gambling Industry Facing Increased Legal Scrutiny
- As States Legalize Pot, Will Traffic Deaths Rise?
- NATO Plans High-Readiness Force to Counter Russia
- Obama Promoting Economic Gains As Elections Near
- 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Conquers the North American Box Office with $16.3M
- GE Capital and Petters-Related Fund in Legal Battle
- California Conservation Conundrum: Water Use Varies Greatly Across State
- Combating Online Abuse Not Easy for Gamers
- Even With Surly 2014 Electorate, It's 'Still an Incumbent's World'
- Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, but Nowhere to Go