Letter: MRT Should Not Consider New Taxes on Privately Insured

Below is the letter we sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging his administration to rule out any new or increased taxes on privately insured New Yorkers as a way to plug the States’s $2.5 billion Medicaid budget gap.


January 30, 2020
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

On behalf of a broad group of organizations committed to ensuring New Yorkers have access to high-quality,
affordable health care, we are writing to express our opposition to the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT)
considering new or increased taxes on the privately insured to close the funding shortfall in the Medicaid
program.

While we recognize the current challenge the state faces in addressing the Medicaid deficit, the MRT should focus
exclusively on reforming and controlling costs in the Medicaid program, not adding more revenue from the
privately insured. A workgroup charged with reassessing the way the program’s current structure is driving
unsustainable costs should not undertake policy discussions that will add to the cost of health insurance for New
York businesses and the individuals they employ, union benefit funds and individual consumers. Moreover,
commercial insurance currently subsidizes health care providers for inadequate Medicaid funding. Any further
reduction in Medicaid funding to hospitals will further increase that commercial subsidy. Therefore, taxes of any
kind – e.g. HCRA taxes, personal income taxes, corporate taxes – should not be part of the MRT’s directive.

New York currently collects more than $5 billion dollars annually through various taxes, surcharges and
assessments on health insurance, representing the third largest source of state revenue behind the sales and income
taxes. These taxes apply to every entity providing coverage including employers, union benefit funds, and the
more than 250,000 consumers in the individual market, and amount to well over $1,000 per premiums for the
average family receiving health care coverage in New York.

As your Administration finalizes the MRT’s membership, scope and process, we urge you to direct it to focus on
measures to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the program, and make clear that any discussion of taxes
is beyond its authority.

Sincerely,

New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans
The Business Council of New York State
Buffalo-Niagara Partnership
The Business Council of Westchester
National Federation of Independent Businesses-NY
Big I New York
Rockland Business Association
Capital Region Chamber
Northeast Dairy Foods Association
Greater Binghamton Chamber
Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care
Unshackle Upstate
New York State Association of Health Underwriters
New York Health Plan Association


Printable version here.

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