Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Taxes Won't Heal Medicaid

Businesses are already voicing their opposition to one of many proposals recommended by the Medicaid Redesign Team today.
Proposal 264, which would apply an HCRA surcharge to Physician Office Based Surgery and Radiology Services, has been targeted as enemy #1 by Unshackle Upstate and the Business Council of New York State. Proponents of the plan characterize it as an elimination of government barriers to quality improvement and cost, while Brian Sampson, the exec director of Unshackle Upstate, labeled the surcharge as "a tax on insured New Yorkers."
He argued that it, "has absolutely nothing to do with reforming Medicaid and will only add to the overwhelming tax burden on insured New Yorkers."
These sentiments were echoed by Heather Briccetti, acting-president & CEO of The Business Council of NYS. "This is a bad idea that has been considered and rejected before. It is simply a cost-shift to the private insurance market rather than a redesign of Medicaid," she concluded.
The Medicaid team estimates that the tax would save (or more aptly raise) $57 million in the next fiscal year and $99 million the next year.
Advocates of this plan argue that physicians have been taking away business from hospitals as the result of surcharge obligations, so this proposal would provide some equity to the competition.

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