The Center for American Progress, the Service Employees International Union, and Wal-Mart joined forces today to release a letter (PDF) endorsing the dual ideas of an employer mandate to provide health insurance and “triggers” to automatically reduce costs if health care spending gets too high (more on that here). You can find details on policy courtesy of my man Igor Volsky. And as Jeff Young notes, there’s important politics here:
The so-called employer mandate is adamantly opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and virtually every major business trade association in Washington. But the backing of Wal-Mart, which employs about 2 million people, could give a big boost to President Obama and Congress’s effort to levy such a requirement on companies. [...] The decision by Wal-Mart to break away from the Chamber and its ilk marks the first visible crack in the business coalition on healthcare reform.
The highly ideological behavior of the business community, and high degree of class solidarity exhibited by the executive class, has been a hugely important element of the story of American politics over the past thirty years or so. The willingness of much of the business community to break with Chamber ideology on Waxman-Markey and now on health care is an important sign of change in the air.