February 2, 2006



Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, launched a new online grassroots effort calling on Wal-Mart and President George Bush to stop supporting health savings accounts, which are the first step by corporate America to destroy our employer-based health care system, where two-thirds of American workers currently get their health care coverage.

The “”First Wal-Mart, Now President Bush”” online initiative was launched in response to Wal-Mart’s and now President Bush’s newfound support for so-called privatized health care options, like “”Health Savings Accounts.””

“”Wal-Mart is determined to use its special interest power to destroy the employer-based health care system in America. Both Pres. Bush and Wal-Mart have teamed up to shift the health care costs from multi-billion dollar corporations to workers struggling to get by – it is a national disgrace,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com

Beginning in January 2006, Wal-Mart introduced Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) as an additional health coverage option for its 1.3 million employees in the United States. Wal-Mart’s HSAs will do nothing to increase the number of workers’ insured under the company’s plan, since only Wal-Mart employees who have had company health care for more than a year are eligible for the HSAs. In general, HSAs shift the burden for health care coverage to workers, come with high deductibles, punish low-income workers who can not afford to contribute to such plans, and reward wealthy executives and business owners with tax-free shelters. Because of Wal-Mart’s low pay, Wal-Mart workers can neither substantially invest in an HSA nor afford the exorbitant HSA medical deductibles, which range up to $6,000 under Wal-Mart’s plan.

“”Sadly, Wal-Mart and President Bush share the same irresponsible idea for solving America’s health care crisis. Wal-Mart and Bush’s scheme will worsen the growing health care divide in America, not insure one additional worker, and grow corporate profits at the expense of workers, their children, and their families,”” added Blank.

The online campaign, which will initially launch on key progressive websites, like Dailykos.com, will reach over 10 million unique visitors during the first week. The petition will call on Americans to “”say no to the Wal-Mart/Bush-backed HSAs and yes to corporations paying their fair share for health care.””

The “”First Wal-Mart, Now Bush”” campaign is the latest grassroots effort by WakeUpWalmart.com. Since April 5th of 2005, over 176,049 supporters have joined WakeUpWalMart.com – one of America’s fastest growing social movements.

The text of the online petition follows below:

Online Petition

Tell Bush and Wal-Mart – “”Health Savings Accounts Won’t Save Health Care””

Only George Bush would turn to Wal-Mart, a corporation who fails to provide company health care to more than 600,000 of its workers, for health care advice. What’s Wal-Mart’s solution to America’s growing health care crisis – privatized health care so you pay for it and they don’t!

Why do Wal-Mart and George Bush want health savings accounts (HSAs)? Simple.

HSAs are a backdoor for large profitable companies, like Wal-Mart, to further reduce or even eliminate health benefits for hard-working Americans. By shifting health care costs away from employers and on to workers, HSAs will not only undermine employer-based health plans, where two-thirds of Americans get coverage, but will force even more workers and their families to go without health care.

Help us stop the Wal-Mart & Bush health care crisis from infecting America.

Tell Bush and his wealthy corporate contributors like Wal-Mart, HSAs are a huge step backward for working families and do nothing to solve our nation’s health care crisis. Rich profitable companies, like Wal-Mart, have a responsibility to provide affordable health care to hard working Americans, not come up with new schemes to try and reduce their health care costs at the expense of workers, their families and their children.

Sign our petition today. Say no to the Wal-Mart/Bush-backed HSAs and yes to corporations paying their fair share for health care.