The State League of Municipalities has contacted Senate President Codey and Assembly Speaker Roberts, urging a delay on Thursday’s scheduled vote on companion measures, which would increase taxes on insurance premiums to provide funding for the State’s Uncompensated Care Fund.
Yesterday, in concert with their consideration of the FY 2010 Appropriations Act, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee released companion bills that would increase the tax on insurance premiums. S-2016 and A-4108 would more than double the premium tax on health insurers. The proceeds from these increases will be directed toward hospital uncompensated care.
Municipalities that participate in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) are already facing a considerable increase in benefits. The proposed taxes that passed yesterday would directly impact municipalities that purchase insurance in the private markets. It would indirectly impact those that participate in the SHBP and that are seeking more affordable options. Public entities and small employers make up the bulk of business in these markets. These increased premiums, coupled with an expected double digit increase in the SHBP, will make it harder than ever for all to find affordable coverage.
In light of these concerns, the League has asked Legislative Leadership to hold A-4108 and S-2016, until their impact on municipalities, as well as on the SHBP, is further reviewed. Health care costs for all public entities continue to represent a major component of local budgets. Taxing these policies in the private markets will inevitably increase the cost of health care and reduce affordable options for all.
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For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.