MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION
Bills: S.2173/A.22 ≠ An Act to amend the insurance law, in
relation to coverage for
the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse.
Alliance for Affordable Health Care, a coalition of more than 1,600 New York employers committed to keeping
health care in New York affordable, supports a moratorium on all health
insurance mandates. The high cost of health care in New York continues to climb
at two to three times the rate of inflation.
Accordingly, the Employer
Alliance opposes S.2173/A.22
because it will further
increase the cost of
health care at a time when New Yorkπs businesses are already lagging behind the
national economic recovery. The impact of increasing health care costs in New
York is evident in the stateπs stubbornly high rate of uninsured.
Interestingly, according to the United Hospital Fund, of the more than 3
million New Yorkers with no insurance, 63% work full-time. This suggests that health insurance affordability is
at the root of New Yorkπs stubbornly high rate of uninsured. New York is facing
a crisis that demands legislative initiatives to enhance access to insurance ≠
not more mandates that exacerbate costs and reduce coverage options for
employers and employees alike.
Although alcohol and
substance abuse treatments have been traditionally marred by poor outcomes, for
some, treatment has provided a better quality of life.
To the Employer
Alliance, the question is not
whether treatment for alcohol and substance abuse has merit ≠ like many
mandates ≠ it does. The question is simply this: If the state were to ≥tax≤
small business to invest more money in health care, where should the next
dollar go? Is levying a premium tax on small employers (i.e.: mandates) to fund
treatments for alcohol and substance abuse more important than providing insurance
for some of the 3 million New Yorkers with no coverage? How about expanding
pharmaceutical coverage for the elderly or the underinsured? Or perhaps in this
economic environment should we not tax small businesses at all?
New York lacks a coherent health policy to help guide lawmakers through these
difficult questions. The result is health policy decision-making subsumed by
politics that is ultimately detrimental to the health of all New Yorkers. Today, New
York has more than 100 mandated benefit bills under consideration. However,
unlike nearly 25 other states, we have no process to evaluate these proposals for
cost or medical efficacy. Over the next several weeks both houses may vote on
additional mandates including wigs, mental health parity, even sperm banking!
Cumulatively, if enacted, these bills could account for hundreds of millions
in additional premiums annually. For premium payers already suffering from 10%- 20% increases in
premium this year, passage of any measure that exacerbates this trend is
unconscionable. We cannot afford this mandate or any other mandate this year.
For all these
reasons, the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care urges you to vote NO on this legislation.
Alliance For Affordable Health Care
PO Box 1412