Partnering to Drive Change
We are committed to providing our Associates with access to quality, affordable coverage. However, as many agree, our current employer-based health care system is unsustainable.
Our health care system is riddled with waste and inefficiencies, as it has yet to fully integrate the cost-saving benefits of technology. As a result, the cost of care is higher than it should be and the quality is compromised.
One of the first initiatives we’ve undertaken to address these problems is “Dossia,” a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Wal-Mart and Applied Materials, BP America, Cardinal Health, Intel and Pitney Bowes to harness the power of technology to improve the quality of health care. Using our combined knowledge and expertise in information technology, we are working together to build a framework for Associates to keep their medical information in secure and portable electronic medical records. Electronic health records can help reduce administrative costs in the health care system and eliminate the medical errors that cause thousands of unnecessary deaths every year.
The problem of our nation’s 43.6 million uninsured goes far beyond the aisles and stock rooms at Wal-Mart. Across the country, too many Americans live without health coverage and health care costs are growing at an unsustainable pace. At the current rate, by 2010 they will be double what they were in 2000, or roughly one-fifth of the nation’s GDP. That puts a tremendous burden on our government and our economy.
To address this challenge, in February 2007, we joined with AT&T, the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy, the Center for American Progress, the Committee for Economic Development, the Communications Workers of America, Intel, Kelly Services and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to launch the Better Health Care Together coalition. As a founding member of Better Health Care Together, we are calling for reform to health care so that all Americans can have access to affordable coverage by 2012.
Our involvement in the coalition aligns with our belief that we have to work together – business, labor and government – to solve our nation’s health care crisis. It also reflects our conviction that we can empower people to take more responsibility and more control over their own health care. By embracing the campaign’s principles, we are working to ensure that: all Americans will have high quality, affordable and accessible health care by 2012; the growth of health care costs in this country are slowed; and the uninsured have access to affordable health coverage.
The current health system is a challenge that affects our Associates, our business and the millions of men and women who shop in our stores every week. As an employer, a retailer and a public policy influencer, we feel a responsibility – and a need – to be an active convener and advocate for real and meaningful solutions.