Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Strange Bedfellows

They have established one of the fiercest rivalries in the American economy, attacking one another’s organizations through dueling blogs, newspaper advertisements and news conferences.

But this morning, in an extraordinary meeting in Washington, the chiefs of Wal-Mart Stores and the Service Employees International Union will stand together and agree on a series of goals for achieving universal health coverage, according to people briefed on the matter.

The two men might even shake hands.

And the lion will lay down with the lamb . . .

So during today’s meeting, Mr. Stern and Mr. Scott will announce a campaign to seek public acceptance of several principles of health policy. One goal is universal health coverage by a specific date, somewhere around 2012. Another is the idea of shared responsibility, emphasizing that individuals, businesses and government all play roles in financing health care and expanding coverage.

And they are not alone.

Executives from AT&T, Intel and several nonprofit organizations will also participate in today’s meeting.

So what makes this any different from other proposals?

the icy relationship between the men began to thaw after Mr. Stern wrote an op-ed article encouraging large corporations to work with unions to create alternatives to the employer-based health coverage system, which he said was collapsing. Mr. Stern sent the article, by certified mail, to hundreds of chief executives seeking their help.

A shared responsibility between individuals, corporations and government. Other proposals have been one sided with taxpayer bearing a significant portion of the load. This idea seems to incorporate personal responsibility more than other proposals.

Or maybe it just seems that way . . .


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