This is bizarre, but both Wal-Mart and the SEIU want the employer-based health insurance system to end. So apparently today they’re going to agree about that. Of course as Wal-Mart has a completely fungible workforce, any attempt to make it pay for its employees health care either via a pay or play system, or by increasing taxes, will lower its profits. And so it has vigorously opposed any pay or play attempts, and has forced the rest of its unionized. health-benefits providing grocery competitors more or less into its line of thinking.(See this old chestnut about Wal-Mart vs Costco on that score).
So that the SEIU and other unions have backed them into a corner on this means one of three things . Either Wal-Mart is worried about its public image of being a dreadful employer. Or that it’s genuinely worried that its employees not having health insurance lowers their productivity. Or that it believes it can back a universal insurance plan that means someone else (presumably the taxpayer) will pay for its workers to get insurance and thereby get the issue off its back.
You can guess which one I think it is.