SACRAMENTO, CA - Some state lawmakers accuse Walmart and other big businesses of paying employees such low wages the employees are forced to go Medi-Cal.
Lawmakers say a loophole in the Affordable Care Act allows Walmart and other big box stores to make workers part-time and then rely on state-funded Medi-Cal rather than giving those employees full time work with health benefits.
Legislators are pushing for a bill that would fine those big businesses for employing part-time workers who have to go on Medi-Cal for health insurance. The bill would impose a $6,000 fine on those big business employers for every full-time employee who ends up on the state's Medi-Cal program
"One of the things that some employers are doing is cutting the hours to a point where they're eligible for Medi-Cal or Medicaid, thereby allowing their workers from ending up on the exchange, avoid the federal penalty. And then at the same time, shifting the cost of coverage to the backs of the taxpayers," said Assem. Jimmy Gomez, D-Echo Park.
"I will soon apply for Medi-Cal. So if that's a good job, Walmart you're wrong," said Walmart worker Barbara Collins. "I have never known of a good job that does not pay a living wage, that doesn't provide benefits that I can afford."
Walmart issued a statement, saying,
Our wages and benefits meet or exceed those offered by most competitors and our healthcare offerings go beyond the eligibility and affordability requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Opponents of the legislation say the fine would have a negative impact on businesses during an economic recovery.
The bill still has to go to the Assembly floor.
CTNS (Capitol Television News Service)