Wal-Mart supports new health initiatives

Wal-Mart (WMT) says it will support the administration's plan require all companies to supply health care to their workers. In an exclusive story in The Wall Street Journal, the firm's action was described as "a major break with most other large companies." The cost of offering health care is obviously a tremendous financial burden for corporations, especially in a down economy.

Wal-Mart may have a selfish reason to take the action. The Senate is considering a bill to require companies with low-wage workers to provide health care benefits. But, that view may be cynical. Wal-Mart workers are poorly paid in many instances, so providing benefits may be critical to allowing them access to medical services that they could never afford without aid.