Maryland Governor Rejects Effort To Expand Health Insurance Coverage

While Vermont moved one step closer to universal health care, Maryland took a big step back today. Governor Bob Ehrlich vetoed legislation that would have required for-profit companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend 8 percent of their payroll on health-care benefits. As the legislation was written, Wal-Mart was the only business in the state who failed to meet those standards, but as the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, the company is in a “class by itself” due to the “unusually high” number of employees without company-paid health benefits. Despite the fact the bill would have helped address the issue of nearly 600,000 Maryland residents who lack health care, Gov. Ehrlich “enthusiastically veto[d]” the legislation, somehow finding it “irresponsible” to provide his neediest constituents with much-needed help.