NY: Ambitious "Fair Share" Bill Introduced with Bipartisan Support

New York State could take national leadership in health care reform if it approves the ambitious health care bill introduced this week based on a proposal by the New York Working Families Party. The bill would require all companies in the state with one hundred employees or more to provide health care to their employees, or pay a tax of $3 an hour per worker to cover the states expenses in caring for uninsured workers. If enacted, this would be a serious expansion of coverage, extending health care to an estimated 450,000 working New Yorkers, and helping preserve coverage for 3.5 million more where large employers are increasingly threatening to drop coverage. Significantly, the bill was introduced by a Republican in the State Senate, which is controlled by Republicans -- and the Senate Majority leader Joseph Bruno, while not endorsing the bill, has agreed that it's a serious problem when companies dump their health care responsibilities on the state while responsible businesses pay their fair share.:
"It's inequitable, it's unfair. That's what has prompted this legislation," [Bruno] said. "We're going to look at it."
This New York bill would be a significant step forward from other state legislation, covering far more workers than the Maryland fair share law recently enacted (which covered only very large firms like Wal-Mart) and requiring a much more significant level of health care coverage than the Massachusetts deal detailed here a few days ago. To learn more about the bill, check out the Fair Share for Health Care section of the Working Families Party site.