RUSH: There’s big news, by the way, out of Maryland. Remember that Maryland law against Wal-Mart, about their health care for their employees and so forth and if they didn’t contribute enough, didn’t pay their employees enough health care, they’d have to send the balance to the state? A second court has told them it’s unconstitutional. I have details coming up. It’s great news just in and of itself that the legislature cannot — the Maryland legislature just cannot — run roughshod over the private sector that way. But the interesting thing is, is that the way the court shut it down, they also shut down the central pillar of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health care plan in California and may have just told him that his plan’s unconstitutional, too.
RUSH: This I love. It is in the New York Times today. “Appeals Court Rules for Wal-Mart in Maryland Health Care Case — When Maryland legislators passed a first-of-its-kind law in 2006 forcing Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health care, the measure was held up as a model for other states grappling with mounting Medicaid bills. But yesterday, after a second court found that the Maryland?s fair-share health care rule violated federal labor laws, the concept that states can compel companies to offer more generous health care is suddenly in doubt, experts said. By a 2-to-1 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Baltimore found that the Maryland requirement ? which affected only Wal-Mart ? violated a 32-year-old federal labor law known by its shorthand, Erisa. The law, known to regulators as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, was intended to allow big companies to set up uniform health benefits across the country, rather than navigate state-by-state requirements.
“By forcing Wal-Mart to revamp health care plans in Maryland, the court found, the Maryland law directly violated Erisa.” Again, that is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. “That decision, upholding a lower court decision in July, threatens to derail health care legislation known as fair share that is under consideration in states across the [fruited plain]. ‘State level health care reform is still possible, but it?s not going to be the Maryland model,’ said Naomi Walker, the director of state legislative programs at the A.F.L.-C.I.O., which lobbied for the Maryland law. ‘We have to go back to the drawing board,'” parenthesis: (To find a new way to shaft the private sector on health care.) Now this, in and of itself, is fabulous. I detested this law from the moment I heard these arrogant, condescending (clearing throat) male body parts propose it. It infuriated me and it insulted my intelligence because in addition to telling these clowns how much they have to pay, if Wal-Mart didn’t pay it, they still had to pay the state!
It was extortion. Now, in addition to this being good news, guess what else this ruling does? It more than likely undercuts Schwarzenegger’s new health care plan in California. It takes the central pillar out of it because the central pillar out of it was he was going to force businesses, or somebody, to pick up the tab for health insurance for every child and person in California including the children of illegal immigrants. John Fund writes about this today in the Wall Street Journal, their OpinionJournal.com page, their web opinion page. “Ted Kennedy, the nation’s most persistent backer of nationalized health care, must be smiling at the irony. Almost four decades after he first proposed the idea, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Kennedy relative by marriage, is touting his own version of universal coverage, and, if adopted, the idea could go nationwide quickly. It’s no wonder critics are already dubbing the ostensibly Republican chief executive ‘Schwarzenkennedy.'”
Now, I have to disagree here with Mr. Fund on just one small item. “Ted Kennedy, the nation’s most persistent backer of nationalized health care must be smiling at the irony”? There’s no irony here. What do you think the Kennedy family has been doing the last 30 years or however long Schwarzenegger’s been married to Maria? How long you think they’ve been beating up on the guy, working on him? There’s no irony here; there’s success! As far as the Kennedys are concerned. “Liberals are overjoyed at the about-face by a governor who in 2005 vetoed a Democratic bill that would have merely expanded the state’s coverage of children, saying the $300 million price tag was too high. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez praises the governor’s new proposal: ‘This is a plan Assembly Democrats could have written.'” Well, we’ll see how far it goes, given the Maryland ruling here, but it seems to chop the central pillar of his plan just right out of it.