The Business Council opposes this legislation, which amends the Healthy New York statute by removing the requirement that a small business must not have offered health insurance to workers for a 12-month period prior to applying for the program.
The Business Council strongly supports reducing the cost of health care and making health insurance more affordable to small business. Healthy New York is vital to our small business members that were previously unable to afford health coverage. However, this proposal ignores the premise behind Healthy New York, which is to help the uninsured. Healthy New York was not intended to serve as a mechanism to shift privately insured workers into a subsidized program, which is what this bill would encourage.
Healthy New York enrollment is growing, and the potential market of small businesses that do not participate but would like to is significant. Initiatives other than the enticement found in this bill should be examined to make Healthy New York more attractive to small businesses. These could include a targeted outreach campaign and initiatives to reduce premiums.
The Business Council welcomes the opportunity to participate in any dialogue to make Healthy New York more affordable and attractive to small businesses. But, simply removing a hurdle to enrollment for the sake of driving up participation by those currently insured through private plans runs counter to the program's intended purpose.
This legislation undermines the original intent of Healthy New York, and the Business Council respectfully urges you to reject.