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Legislative Memo

518.465.7511

BILL:

S.4158-A (Skelos) A.7146-B (Rosenthal)

Support

SUBJECT:

MRI Health Insurance Mandate

 

DATE:

June 18, 2007

 

The Business Council opposes this legislation, which would require health insurers to provide coverage for annual magnetic resonance imaging scans of women age 30 or older and who meet certain conditions. This mandate will place an additional burden on the cost of health coverage for New York's employers. The proposal should be subject the scrutiny of the State's Mandate Review Commission.

We urge you to delay the passage of any additional mandates until New York's new health insurance Mandate Review Commission that was enacted as part of the State Budget in April is operational and has had the opportunity to analyze the proposal. The creation of this commission - formally known as the New York State Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission - will promote a thoughtful, objective review of state mandated health insurance proposals and their costs and benefits, prior to a full vote by the Legislature. Many votes today are taken with inadequate information for making an informed judgment. Allow the Commission, whose members have not yet been appointed, to be engaged before considering any additional mandates, including the MRI mandate.

In addition, the premature nature of this legislation is particularly noteworthy and troubling because it is based on a study that is only two months old. In fact, the study has not been adequately reviewed by the healthcare provider community.

Last November, Business Council members identified the cost of doing business in New York as their greatest concern, and put the cost of employee health insurance at the top of the Council's action agenda for 2007. Another insurance mandate would place additional pressure on health insurance premiums at a time when many of New York's employers that provide coverage to their workers are struggling to maintain their current level of benefits. According to an analysis by NovaRest Consulting, it is estimated that New York's mandated benefits increase health insurance premiums by a net amount of 12%.

With affordability the No. 1 obstacle for employers to provide and maintain health coverage for their employees, more mandates will raise costs for everyone and make coverage less affordable. The Business Council urges you to reject this proposal until its impact can be evaluated.