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Published: Thursday, 10/1/2009

Retail workers getting Medicaid

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

Ohio taxpayers are subsidizing the health insurance of more than 115,000 employees of major retail stores and restaurants and their dependents through the Medicaid program, according to a state report released this week.

In August, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. - Ohio's largest employer - had more than 15,000 employees or their direct dependants of its 54,000 Ohio workers receiving coverage under Medicaid, the state-funded federal program designed to take care of the poor and disabled. McDonald's Corp. restaurants had 12,700 of its employees or their direct dependants receiving Medicaid benefits in June, the study found.

Wendy's, Kroger, Bob Evans, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, Goodwill Industries, and Giant Eagle rounded out the top 10 list of Medicaid recipients by employer.

Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said the company offers affordable health care to both full and part-time workers.

The report, compiled by the Department of Job and Family Services at the request of the Ohio legislature, also noted which companies had the greatest number of employees or their dependants receiving food stamps or other social services.

None of the employers listed is headquartered in the Toledo area, but most of the top 50 have several retail outlets or other facilities in the region. The data are from 2008.



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