Legislative Memo






Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission



March 14, 2007


This bill proposes to create a Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission to analyze the costs and quality of proposed health insurance mandates. Currently, proponents and opponents of particular health insurance expansions hire their own “dueling” actuaries to do such studies. The creation of a Commission would represent the adoption of a “best practice” from many other jurisdictions, most notably Pennsylvania, which created a Commission in the mid-1980's and re-authorized it in 2003.

Depending on how you count what's a mandate, New York has over three dozen mandates – and as high as forty-two by some estimates. The incremental growth of mandates has had a significant impact on the costs of health insurance in New York State and leads to more uninsured. The number of New Yorkers with employer-provided insurance continues to decline according to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

To partially address the effects of mandates on price, the state has created new health insurance policies with more limited benefit structures. These policies, most notably Healthy New York, are more affordable. New York must do more to reform the small group health insurance market to make it more affordable for those who are ineligible to purchase Healthy New York.

New York State employers responding to a Business Council survey have overwhelmingly identified employee health care as their top cost-of-doing business concern. The creation of a Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission would be a first step in the right direction.