Public Benefits Subsidize Major Ohio Employers

July 31st, 2008
   

A 2008 Update

Providing health insurance, food stamps, and cash assistance to poor families is an important function of government. Such programs provide all of us with reassurance that, in the planet’s wealthiest country, families are able to get some help with the basics. We might assume that assistance of this sort goes primarily to the unemployed. In fact, many working people at some of Ohio’s largest and most well-heeled employers do not earn enough to purchase health insurance or to meet their basic needs.

This paper examines state and federal costs for Medicaid, food stamps, and cash assistance for the 50 employers in Ohio that rely most heavily on the public sector to help compensate their workforce. High on the list are familiar employers like Wal-Mart, Target, the Cleveland Clinic, McDonald’s, and the owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Costs to Ohio and the federal government for providing this coverage at major employers grew to just over $400 million in 2007. This includes an increase of 29 percent since 2004 in costs that Ohio paid for Medicaid coverage at employers for whom a four-year comparison was possible. Six of Ohio’s ten largest employers – Wal-Mart, Kroger, the Cleveland Clinic Health System, University Hospitals Health System, Bob Evans, and Meijer – are included on the list of employers with the largest number of employees using Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance. It is important that we know which workplaces leave employees reliant on public support.

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