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NEW YORK - In a speech to the National Retail Federation on Sunday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. chief executive Lee Scott said that the U.S. health care system is in "crisis" and called on the U.S. government to help retailers contend, Reuters reports.
"We believe it is time for the government to step in ... and get a handle on health care costs," Scott said.
Scott also defended the company for its trade practices with China -- a topic that has received extensive media coverage in the United States. Wal-Mart is the largest U.S. importer of Chinese goods.
Scott said the retailer believes in buying American and is willing to pay more to put U.S. goods on its shelves.
"We can't tell the customer what to buy," he said, noting that Wal-Mart was a major customer for textiles maker Pillowtex, which still filed for bankruptcy.
Scott said manufacturing will continue shifting to China, but said cheap labor was not the only reason why. He said some manufacturers have moved production to escape the high costs of U.S. health-care and worker's compensation, as well as a legal system that he said badly needed reform.