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Businesses Failing to Provide Health Care to Pay Increased Assessments under MA Governor's Proposal

To close funding gaps in the state's new health care law and encourage more employers to provide health coverage for their employees, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick this week proposed raising an additional $33 million from employers with more than 10 workers who don't contribute at least one-third of workers' premiums within the first 90 days of employment and don't have at least 25% of their employees enrolled in insurance plans.  The plan would raise additional funds by assessing fees on insurers' reserve accounts. 

According to advocates, this tightening of the rules for employers is actually just restoring the law to what was intended.  While legislators had projected that the law would raise $103 million from employers in the first three years, loose regulations written by former Governor Romney led to only a projected $15 million being raised.  As Brian Rosman at Health Care for All argues:

The fact is, Governor Patrick is proposing only that employers offering no or little health coverage to their workers support the program as originally intended ... In fairness, these employers ought to make at least a modest contribution to the cost of their worker’s care.

In this argument, Rosman is supported by a poll showing that 75 percent of state residents support the assessment on employers who fail to offer health insurance to their employees.  While the Massachusetts law is not perfect, many employers in Massachusetts have stepped up and expanded health care coverage for their employees.  It's those employers who haven't who will pay the fees to the state.

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