MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION
Date: April 28, 2006
Bill: S.7090 (Spano)/A.10583 (Gottfried) - An act to amend the public health law in relation
to establishing a fair share for health care assessment on large employers...
This legislation would mandate
that large employers (with more than 100 employees excluding manufacturers and
agriculture businesses) to provide health insurance to their employees or pay a
fee ($3 per hour per employee) into a fund for the working uninsured. The Employer Alliance for Affordable
Health Care is a coalition of nearly 2,500 small and medium size employers
dedicated to keeping health insurance affordable by reducing government
mandates. While the focus of the Alliance has been on
traditional provider and service insurance mandates that disproportionately
impact small employers, clearly this large employer mandate would be an
unwelcome precedent and as a result we oppose this legislation.
S.7090/A.10583 Fails To Address The
Real Culprit Of New York’s
High Uninsured Rate: Affordable Health Insurance
Nearly three out of four of
2.7 million uninsured are working.
The vast majority of these individuals work in firms that have fewer
than 100 employees. That New York’s uninsureds are
predominately working for small employers highlights the core of New York’s insurance
problem: affordability. Instead of trying to make insurance more
affordable for small businesses and the individuals employed in them, this
legislation takes aim solely at large companies – those already most likely to
already provide some level of coverage.
If the sponsors of this legislation really want to lower New York’s chronically high rate of uninsured, they need
to address the many underlying causes for New York’s high health care costs –
including the more than 12% that is spent on meeting the numerous mandates
already required by law in this state.
Is Another Step Towards Mandating All Employers
Provide Health Insurance
Unlike any other insurance, health insurance is often
predominately paid for by someone different than the ultimate user. This insurance aberration is largely the
result of historical forces that made health insurance a fringe benefit
designed to help attract and retain personnel. Today, what was once a relatively
inconsequential portion of an individual’s compensation package has become the
most fiercely contested area of labor negotiations. This friction will continue as
employers, encumbered by significant health care costs find ways to meet future
coverage demands with limited resources.
As perhaps a glimpse into the future, Massachusetts has
recently set a very different course by applying a mandate on individuals to
have insurance and then facilitating a competitive market place to where
individuals can shop for affordable options. To our mind, this approach is more
appropriate than requiring a stand-alone large employer mandate to “play or
pay.” We also note that while this
legislation takes aim at large employers today, if passed small employers –
trying to compete in our global economy will soon be asked to follow. As difficult as this legislation is for
large – well-capitalized company’s to comply with – it will be considerably
more difficult for small businesses already struggling to survive. This is not an idle concern as there are
already proposals in introduction that would require such a mandate on small
For all these reasons and many more, the Employer
Alliance for Affordable Health Care opposes this legislation.
For Affordable Health Care
Albany, New York 12201-1412
Scott Miller, Chairman