West Virginia Legislators Ponder 'Wal-Mart Bill'

January 18, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Following the lead of fellow lawmakers in Maryland, the West Virginia state legislature is now considering a proposal to force employers with 10,000 or more workers to spent at least 8% of payroll on their workers' health care coverage costs.

Four Democratic delegates introduced the House version of the bill,  HB 4024 , on Monday, while a companion Senate version,  SB 147 , was introduced Friday, according to a Business Insurance report. Under the measure, firms not meeting the 8% spending threshold would be forced to make up their difference through payments to West Virginia’s Medicaid fund.


The bill is similar to the Fair Share Health Care Act, also known as the “Wal-Mart bill,” that was enacted last week in Maryland following the Legislature’s override of Governor Robert Ehrlich’s veto of the measure late last year (See  Veto of ‘Wal-Mart Bill’ Overridden in MD Senate ).

A spokesman for the giant retailer declined to comment on the West Virginia legislation. Meanwhile, attorneys for Wal-Mart, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce are reportedly looking into whether they can pose an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) challenge to the Maryland bill, but no litigation has been filed yet, according to the report.