Obama Pitches Reform at Kroger

President Obama paid a visit to a Kroger store in Bristol, Va., last week to drum up support for his health care reform initiative. Part of the reason that we're doing this town hall here at Kroger is because Kroger provides health insurance to its associates as many as it can and that is significantly different than a lot of companies out there who aren't providing health insurance for their employees,

BRISTOL, Va. — President Obama paid a visit to a Kroger store here last week to drum up support for his health care reform initiative.

“Part of the reason that we're doing this town hall here at Kroger is because Kroger provides health insurance to its associates — as many as it can — and that is significantly different than a lot of companies out there who aren't providing health insurance for their employees,” Obama told the workers at the store, according to a report in the Washington Post.

David Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer of Cincinnati-based Kroger, was on hand for the meeting, the report said.

Obama sought to encourage workers that their health coverage would remain in place under reform.

“Kroger is providing health care to its employees, and we're not going to change that system,” he said. “What we are going to try to do is work with Dave and others to see if we can control the costs so that they can keep on providing health care at an affordable cost to all of you.”

He also responded to worker questions about Medicare — he said it would be made more efficient, but not degraded — and the costs of malpractice insurance for doctors, among other topics.

“It is wholly appropriate that President Obama choose a supermarket to highlight health care benefits and emphasize the good works of food retailers,” Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, Food Marketing Institute, told SN. “This spotlight on the supermarket underscores the vital role of food retailers in our economy.”