Skip to Content Site Map | Fast Facts | Search

Citizens' Health Care Working Group

Health Care that Works for All Americans

Citizens' Health Care Working Group Health Care that Works for All Americans Home Page

It's Up To You

What's next in the national discussion about our health care? This is your chance to be part of an important debate. Use the resources of this web site to learn about our health care system.

What happens next, depends on you.

Kroger pushing health care survey

Cincinnati Business Courier
Jan. 19, 2006

Cincinnati Business Courier - 12:20 PM EST Thursday

The Kroger Co. said it will ask its employees and customers countrywide to participate in community meetings and online surveys geared toward improving health care in America.

The surveys are sponsored by the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, created by Congress in 2003 to stimulate a nationwide public debate about improving health care. It is part of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

The group asks Americans to provide information about what health care coverage they want and how they are willing to pay for it. The information is gathered through community meetings and online surveys, then forwarded to Congress as recommendations for vote.

"Affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans is one of the most significant challenges facing our nation," David Dillon, Kroger chairman and CEO, said in a press release. "Thanks to the work of the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, all of us have an opportunity to make our voices heard."

Health care expenses are of particular concern for Kroger, which traditionally covered the entire bill for its roughly 290,000 employees. Over the past couple years, the Cincinnati-based chain has been negotiating with its regional labor unions to allow workers to pick up part of the tab. In October 2004, 8,500 regional Kroger employees voted to ratify a contract that required them to contribute $5 to $15 per week toward health care, depending on the number of people covered.

Still, in its third-quarter earnings report, filed in November 2005, Kroger (NYSE:KR) said its continued success is dependent in part upon its ability to reduce operating expenses, "including managing health care and pension costs contained in our collective bargaining agreements."

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, a member of the Health Care Working Group, called Kroger's involvement "a valuable contribution."

"(It's) raising awareness and urging communities to participate in this collaborative effort," Joe Hansen, president of UFCW, said in the press release.

The Citizens' Health Care Working Group will be holding community meetings in a number of major cities, including Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Detroit, Phoenix and Chicago, over the next five months. It also is conducting online surveys at

© 2006 American City Business Journals Inc.