NYS Seal




Fair Share Proposals for Health Care Costs


The purpose of this hearing is to examine the advantages and disadvantages of various pending legislative proposals that seek to ensure employers pay their fair share of the growing taxpayer costs for public health care programs by using varying formulas to develop an assessment.

Hamilton Hearing Room B
Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY
10 a.m.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Employers that do not provide coverage are enjoying competitive advantages through reduced business costs.

Several bills have been introduced to ensure that large employers pay their fair share of the growing taxpayer costs for public health care programs by using varying formulas to develop an assessment. While these bills differ, their intent is the same - reducing the health care burden on taxpayers and leveling the playing field among employers.

The proposals are not meant to be a solution to the problem of providing health coverage for the uninsured and the insured. The Assembly plans to hold different hearings on this issue.

For decades, the majority of large employers have helped pay for their workers' health care costs because it is good business. Health benefits help retain workers, reduce the costs of training new employees, and reduce employee sick days. When the benefits are extended to families, parents do not miss work to take care of sick children as often.

Despite these advantages, some large employers are inducing a "race to the bottom." They cut costs by reducing or eliminating what they spend on employee health care, pressuring responsible competitors to also reduce or eliminate health benefits. The burden of paying for the health care of these employers' lower income workers often falls on the taxpayers, through programs such as Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Family Health Plus. The health care system is further stressed when those workers arrive ill in emergency rooms or receive uncompensated charity care, straining an already over-burdened system.

The purpose of this hearing is to examine the advantages and disadvantages of various pending legislative proposals including: A.4129 (Grannis); A.9534-B (O'Donnell)/S.7292 (Oppenheimer); A.9776-A (Peralta)/S.6472-A (Savino); and A.10583 (Gottfried)/S.7090 (Spano). These proposals seek to ensure employers pay their fair share of the growing taxpayer costs for public health care programs by using varying formulas to develop an assessment. While these bills differ, their intent is the same - to reduce the health cost burden on taxpayers and to level the playing field among employers.

Please see below for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony, and for a description of the bills which will be discussed at the hearing.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Due to time constraints, oral testimony will be by invitation only. Please submit the reply form if you would like to be considered for an invitation. All those not invited to provide oral testimony will have the opportunity to submit written testimony.

Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes duration. All testimony is under oath. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Richard N. Gottfried
Member of Assembly
Committee on Health

Alexander B. Grannis
Member of the Assembly
Committee on Insurance

Susan John
Member of the Assembly
Committee on Labor


  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of enacting the following legislative proposals: A.4129 (Grannis); A.9534-B (O'Donnell)/S.7292 (Oppenheimer); A.9776-A (Peralta)/S.6472-A (Savino); and A.10583 (Gottfried)/S.7090 (Spano)?

  2. What types of health care benefits are New York businesses currently offering to their employees? How much do these businesses typically spend on health care in terms of percentage of payroll or dollar per hour costs? What is the average employer/employee contribution and do these contributions vary by type of business and by business size?

  3. How would expansion of Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus and Healthy New York impact the current health insurance market? How would allowing an employer buy-in to Family Health Plus and Healthy New York affect affordability of health coverage in the public and private market?

  4. What impact would a mandated employer contribution toward health care coverage have on small, medium or large employers? What would be the impact on rates for all public and private health insurance products?

  5. Many consumers have become used to paying low prices for goods and services from certain large retail stores where many employees work part-time at very low wage levels. If these employers are forced to incur higher costs to do business, how would it affect consumers and employees of these establishments?

  6. The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) places limitations on the state's ability to pass laws that "affect" employee benefit plans. Some observers believe that ERISA may limit state's ability to enact "fair share" laws, but the ERISA insurance savings clause clearly leaves the authority to states in terms of regulating insurance, and the HCRA system's surcharges to support indigent care programs and graduate medical education were upheld by the US Supreme Court. How could New York tap employer contributions to cover the uninsured within ERISA constraints?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on May 23, 2006 are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Bryan O'Malley, Legislative Associate
Assembly Committee on Health
Room 822, Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12248
Email: omalleb@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4941
Fax: (518) 455-5939

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on Fair Share for Health Care to be conducted by the Assembly Committees on Health, Insurance and Labor on May 23, 2006.

box I would like to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I do not plan to attend the above hearing.

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.


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