February 23, 2006



Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s leading campaign to change Wal-Mart, released a new report detailing the “”Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis.”” “”The Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis”” is the result of Wal-Mart’s failure to provide affordable health care to over half of its workforce which forces, according to estimates, several hundred thousand Wal-Mart workers and their families onto taxpayer-funded public health care.

In fact, based on Wal-Mart’s own documents, published on WalMartfacts.com in January 2006, the percentage of Wal-Mart workers with company health care decreased by 5% – from 48 percent to 43 percent. Therefore, in 2005, Wal-Mart admits it failed to provide company health care to 57% of its workforce, leaving over 775,000 Wal-Mart workers and their families without company health care. The new number is far worse than has been previously reported and is contrary to recent public statements by the company.

WakeUpWalMart.com issued a new report today after conducting a full analysis of all reported data on Wal-Mart’s health care spending. The report, titled “”America Pays, Wal-Mart Saves: The Growing Cost of the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis,”” estimates that, in 2005, nearly 300,000 Wal-Mart workers and their family members depended on taxpayer-funded public health care at a total cost to American taxpayers of $1.37 billion.

The most striking finding in the report is the projected cost to American taxpayers of the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis if Wal-Mart successfully completes its publicly stated goal of building 1,500 additional stores. Based on the current cost and the future store growth, the report projects the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis will cost American taxpayers approximately $9.1 billion over the next 5 years, 2006-2010.

“”The Wal-Mart health care crisis is real, it’s growing, and the cost to taxpayers is enormous. Wal-Mart’s dirty little secret is to force taxpayers to pay nearly $1.4 billion in their health care costs, while Wal-Mart pockets $11 billion in profits. Wal-Mart will cost American taxpayers more than $9 billion over the next five years in health care costs alone”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

Another startling finding in the report is the fact that Wal-Mart’s health care spending per worker actually declined by 3.5% during the period of 2003-2004, according to Wal-Mart’s latest filing with the Internal Revenue Service. This is notable for two reasons: 1) national health care spending per worker for the rest of America rose by 7.6% during this period, and 2) Wal-Mart’s repeated public statements about its health care spending and health care coverage do not reflect the reality of Wal-Mart’s own data submitted to the IRS. More detailed figures for Wal-Mart’s health care spending will be released when Wal-Mart files its Form 5500 for 2005.

“”Wal-Mart ought to be ashamed. While health care costs and the number of uninsured are rising, Wal-Mart feeds America’s health care crisis by actually cutting back on its health care spending. It’s outrageous and the American people and their lawmakers will not tolerate such irresponsibility in corporate America,”” added Paul Blank.

The report paints a disturbing picture of the scope and cost America bears because of the Wal-Mart health care crisis. Among the findings:

• Of a total workforce in the Unites States of 1.39 million in October 2005, 57 percent or 775,000 Wal-Mart workers, had no company health care. The actual percentage of Wal-Mart workers without company health care increased by 5 percent in 2005.

• The cost of the Wal-Mart health care crisis for 2005 is estimated at $1.37 billion. A previous study, by Professor Michael Hicks from the Air Force institute, estimated that each Wal-Mart employee increased Medicaid expenditures by $898. For Wal-Mart’s 2005 work force, this would cost taxpayers $1.24 billion.

• Wal-Mart’s health care expenditures per worker actually declined by 3.5% during the period of 2003-2004, according to Wal-Mart’s latest filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

• Based on Wal-Mart’s growth projections for 2006-2010, the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis will cost taxpayers an estimated $9.1 billion over the next five years.

• Despite Wal-Mart claiming only 5% of its workforce is on public health care assistance, based on the available data, it is estimated Wal-Mart averages 13 percent of its workforce on public health care assistance. The 13 percent figure is 3.25 times higher than the national average of 4 percent for all employers and 2.6 times higher than the 5 percent average Wal-Mart states publicly.

• Based on the data from the states who have released dependent care numbers, it is estimated that for every 12 Wal-Mart workers, one dependent of a Wal-Mart employee is on a taxpayer-funded public health care program. According to Wal-Mart’s own internal health care memo, Wal-Mart believes 27 percent of its employees’ children are using state Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Programs. In Georgia, for example, nearly 10,000 children of Wal-Mart workers are enrolled in the state PeachCare program – nearly 14 times more than any other employer.

• Nationwide, it is estimated that 183,382 Wal-Mart workers and 112,768 family members of Wal-Mart workers are forced onto taxpayer-funded public health care assistance. The total number of Wal-Mart workers and family members who are part of the Wal-Mart health care crisis is 296,150.

• For 2005, ending the Wal-Mart Health Care crisis would provide an extra $1.37 billion in additional funding for national and state health care programs. In terms of programs, the $1.37 billion in federal and state tax dollars currently going to subsidize Wal-Mart could be used to reinstate proposed funding cuts in the 2007 federal budget of over $1 billion in health care grants to states.

The complete report, “”America Pays, Wal-Mart Saves”” is being released as part of an upcoming national health care campaign initiative called “”Stop the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis.”” The latest campaign initiative by WakeUpWalMart.com will officially launch nationwide with events in 12 states on February 28th. Additional state-by-state estimates of the cost of the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis will be released on February 28th. The complete “”America Pays, Wal-Mart Saves”” health care memo is available for download at WakeUpWalMart.com.