Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group

Press Release
December 16, 2008

Contact Jeff Leland
(518) 792-0949

Employer Alliance: Latest Budget Proposals Devastating to Small Businesss 

The budget proposals for 2009-2010 announced today by Governor Paterson continue to make it harder for business to afford and offer health insurance coverage, according to the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care.

The Employer Alliance pointed to increased taxes on health insurance policies as the most onerous proposals that impact businesses, particularly small employers, and could jeopardize the health coverage they currently have.

“We all recognize the difficulties of our current economy,” said Jeff Leland, chair of the Employer Alliance. “However, New York cannot tax its way out of this deep recession, especially not through taxes on the back of businesses who are struggling to stay in business themselves.”

Governor Paterson’s budget proposal calls for a $240 million increase in the Covered Lives Assessment — a surcharge paid on every health insurance policy — putting the total Covered Lives Assessment at $1.2 billion. There would also be increases to other health insurance taxes such as the patient services surcharge and other premium taxes including the section 332 assessments.

“These are taxes on the premiums we pay for health insurance with none of that money going to add to the benefits or services of the coverage” said Leland. “Some of these taxes would be used to pay for the Governor’s plan to expand New York’s programs that give free health coverage to those New Yorkers who are uninsured — that just doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s penny-wise and pound foolish. Instead of raising the cost of coverage for the many small and medium sized businesses already struggling to provide health insurance, New York should be looking for ways to make insurance more affordable not less. That way, fewer New Yorkers would have to rely on the state to provide coverage.”

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is the largest single-issue grassroots business coalition in New York State - 3,400 small business owners and sole proprietors representing more than 200,000 working New Yorkers. To learn more, visit our website at www.employeralliance.com.