This new report that was released last week "Public Benefits Subsidize Major Ohio Employers" by Policy Matters Ohio is a great example of how the free market system is not actually "free". The report written by Piet Van Lier shows how Wal Mart, most of the fast food places, Kroger, and in the height of irony the Cleveland Clinic have a large number of employees using the public health system of Medicaid for their health coverage.
"Costs to Ohio and the federal government for providing this coverage at major employers grew to just over $400 million in 2007. This includes an increase of 29 percent since 2004 in costs that Ohio paid for Medicaid coverage at employers for whom a four-year comparison was possible. Six of Ohio’s ten largest employers – Wal-Mart, Kroger, the Cleveland Clinic Health System, University Hospitals Health System, Bob Evans, and Meijer – are included on the list of employers with the largest number of employees using Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance.How could two health care providers rely on the public health system after winning so many awards? How could one of our richest American Corporations (who were caught campaigning against Democrats) to their managers rely so heavily on public assistance? If we assume that the average amount given to an employee per month in Food Stamps is around $80 per month because they take off for income earned then the state should send a bill to Wal Mart for the $8.2 million that we provided to their employees in Food Stamps. We could translate the Medicaid dollars spent on the 1,773 employees at the Cleveland Clinic and translate it to cash. We could provide universal health care and set up a WPA type employment program with the cash earned by charging major employers who are not paying workers enough to support their family.
Thanks to Ohio Policy Matters for another good report. I hope that politicians pick this up and start forcing these corporations and pseudo-non-profits to pull their own weight. Why do the lower and middle income have to tighten their belts in the face of high energy costs and a collapsing housing market, but corporations and CEOs can just reduce wages for their workforce and push healthcare, food costs, and even cash subsidies to the state and federal government to pick up?
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.