Maryland’s "Wal-Mart" Act: Policy and Preemption

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Cardozo Law Review, Vol: 28, Page: 847

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Edward A. Zelinsky
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Maryland's Wal-Mart Act raises two fundamental questions: Is the Act legal? Does the Act represent sound policy?With respect to the legality of the Maryland statute, I conclude that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) preempts the Maryland law. As a matter of policy, the Maryland statute is ill-conceived. The Maryland Act raises prices on Wal-Mart's predominantly low-income customers and, for the long run, will reduce Wal-Mart's employment.In the final analysis, Maryland's Wal-Mart Act is a poorly-designed exercise in political symbolism, rather than a carefully-crafted response to the pressing problem of health care in America.