(Of All Companies) Wal-Mart Backs Business-Funded Health Care

Wal-Mart head Mike Duke, on the ground in India, in his former role as ViceChairmanWal-Mart used to be the company we loved to hate, but it’s getting tougher every day. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told the White House that it supports the initiative that requires employers to provide health insurance to workers.

Simply stated, this is a jaw dropper piece of news.

The NYTimes writes that the offer of support does contain stipulations. In a letter issued jointly with Andrew W. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, representing many health care workers, and John D. Podesta, leader of the Center for American Progress and head of President Obama’s transition to the presidency, Wal-Mart says: “If any business is going to be asked to take on an employer mandate, to face changes in the tax laws, there should be some sense that the promise of the bill to reduce health costs will actually occur.”

Wal-Mart previously resisted business-paid health care. Their reversal represents an acknowledgement that the Democratic controlled Congress will likely push through a health care bill, and they want a seat at the negotiating table.

According to WSJ, The National Retail Federation is ‘flabberghasted’ by the Wal-Mart move. A