Wal-Martization and the Fair Share Health Care Acts
St. Thomas Law Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, Fall 2006
33 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2006
In this article, written for the symposium on the Future of Employer-Based Health Care, we evaluate Fair Share legislative efforts which target large employers to fund health insurance programs. In January of 2006, Maryland became the first state in the nation to mandate employer contribution to employee health insurance. Around the same time, the AFL-CIO and other worker advocacy groups launched a major health care campaign in 33 other states, demanding that the nation’s largest corporations contribute to employee health care provision. The Fair Share Health Care Act (FSHA) was enacted by the Maryland state legislature in an effort to leverage private resources necessary to maintain government-funded health insurance. The Act requires corporations with 10,000 or more employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health care for their employees or pay the difference of what they do provide into a state fund to defray the costs of uncompensated medical care to the taxpayers of Maryland. This article evaluates the Fair Share campaign in light of the current health care crisis. The past few decades have witnessed a significant increase in both the number of uninsured employees and the number of state citizens enrolled in state funded health insurance and subsequent strains on the state budget. Proponents of the bill argue that corporations should pay their fair share of the current economic burden resulting from uninsured employees. Critics of the bill claim such legislation will impede competition, discourage job creation, and decrease employee wages. The article will further analyze the recent court challenges to FSHA by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the possible preemption of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and probable court outcomes.
Keywords: Fair Share Health Care Act, Employee Healthcare, Healthcare Cost, Employer Sponsored Health Insurance, Employee Retirement Income Security Act
JEL Classification: A00, A10, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation