For Immediate Release: June 22, 2004
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Assembly bill lacks real parity for small businesses
Statement by Scott Miller, Chairman of The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care
ALBANY - The Assembly has released a new version of mental health parity that attempts to address the concerns of small businesses. While this latest development shows effort on their part, A.11694 falls short of addressing the key issues of affordability and equity.
The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care knows that minimal tax credits for a narrow band of employers is not the answer. While the Senate's version would exempt small businesses all together, the Assembly bill includes a three percent tax credit to businesses with 2 to 50 employees and an income of less than $290,000.
A.11694 fails to address the very real needs of sole proprietors who must also pay the full share of their health insurance costs. In this case, sole proprietors will be forced to pay the entire expense of unlimited mental health treatments and receive ABSOLUTELY NO RELIEF. Meanwhile, large self-insured companies will not feel the affect since a federal loophole excludes them from the cost of these mandates.
Even for small businesses a tax credit is not the answer. We believe that the cost of providing these services is more likely to exceed the three percent tax credit proposal. Furthermore, the true value of this credit is actually less than 3 percent since small businesses are already able to deduct a portion of health expenses.
The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care believes that EVERYONE should have access to basic, affordable health insurance coverage. Therefore, we oppose A.11694 and instead urge the Assembly stop passing mandates all together, or at the very least, follow the example of Senate leadership and include a small business exemption.
The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is New York's largest, single-issue coalition with more than 2,000 business members who employ over 150,000 individuals. For more information call 518.462.2296 or visit www.employeralliance.com.
For more information, call 518.462.2296