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May 4, 2006

Massachusetts individual health mandate main topic of Council's May 10 Health Committee meeting

The president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Michael Widmer, will lead a discussion of the new Massachusetts individual health mandate at the May 10 meeting of The Business Council’s Health Committee.

Widmer will discuss the policy and politics of the new Massachusetts Health law that requires individuals to buy a health insurance policy, imposes an assessment on some businesses that do not offer health insurance and creates a Health Insurance Connector to link individuals and businesses with health insurance products.

Victoria Burgess, a health policy analyst at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, will also speak at the meeting.

The agenda also includes a discussion of the "Health Scare Bill of 2006." The bill, sponsored by Senator Nicholas Spano, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and 80 of his Assembly colleagues, would require all non-manufacturing, non-agricultural businesses in New York, employing more than 100 people, to spend $3 per hour per employee on health benefits or pay the equivalent amount to the state.

The mandated fee would amount to a $9.2 billion tax on New York employers according to the Employment Policies Institute (EPI). In addition to assessing billions in new taxes and fees on employers, the legislation would have little to no effect on the current uninsured population in New York. Of the 2.8 million New Yorkers who are uninsured, 2.2 million are unemployed or work for businesses employing less than 100 people, according to the EPI.

The meeting, which from 10:30 to 2:30, will be at the Council’s Albany offices. Lunch is included. A registration fee of $20 is required.

More information, including a complete agenda and online registration, is available at www.bcnys.org/inside/health/agenda.htm.