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For Release — Feb. 9, 2010

Business Council tells legislature to do no more harm in health care

ALBANY— “The legislature should reject proposals in the Executive Budget that will increase the cost of employer-provided health insurance and damage the competition in the health insurance market,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. in testimony to the joint legislative fiscal committees.

The Business Council testimony detailed opposition to: the HCRA surcharge on surgical and radiological procedures; the increases in assessments on nursing homes, inpatient services, and home and personal care providers; reinstating the Insurance Department's authority to approve health insurance rates (commonly known as “prior approval”);the early intervention insurance language; and the pharmaceutical code of conduct.

“Raising taxes on health care providers will result in higher insurance costs for business,” said Adams. “New York needs to find ways to reduce the cost health insurance, not to add even more taxes to burden the state's employers.”

“The prior approval proposal is simply government price-fixing that will politicize health insurance rate-setting and likely lead to rate suppression that will ignore the real cost drivers of insurance rates,” added Adams. “Government actions such as the $4.2 billion in health insurance taxes, including $700 million in new and increased taxes passed as part of last year's state budget, along with the increasing number of insurance mandates continue to drive up health insurance premiums.”

“The budget proposal would also increase employer's insurance costs by shifting the Medicaid early intervention program to private insurers. The shift comes with no reform of the program to achieve cost-savings and quality improvements. It just sends the bill for an unsustainable state program to private payers,” said Adams.

“The Business Council is also concerned that the budget targets one of the state's most important economic sectors, the biopharmaceutical industry, for new rules that will impair communication between the industry and health care providers. These proposed rules will also discourage investment in New York by one of our most important industries,” said Adams.

The testimony noted that the biopharmaceutical industry is responsible for a total of 130,464 jobs in New York. It is one of the state's major growth targets.

The full testimony is available here.

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