Sunday, June 25, 2006

Press Release; State legislature Passes 'Fair Share' Disclosure Bill

State Legislature Passes 'Fair Share' Disclosure Bill
Shame Will Provide Impetus To Reform, WFP Says

How much does Wal-Mart's failure to provide decent, affordable health benefits cost New York taxpayers? How many building service employees in the Empire State Building are enrolled in Family Health Plus because their employer doesn't provide health coverage?

New Yorkers may soon know the answers to these and similar questions. Both houses of the state legislature passed legislation (S6682 – Maziarz/A10637-Gottfried) requiring disclosure of:

  • The number of employees of the state's largest employers (200 or employees) enrolled in state-funded public health insurance programs.
  • The cost each of these employers imposes on the state.
The Senate passed the bill on Thursday. The Assembly acted on Friday.

Earlier this week, the WFP announced that the Fair Share for Health Care Act would not pass this legislative session and called for passage of the disclosure bill that passed. "We were disappointed that the legislature was not ready to expand access to health care by reconstructing the social compact between workers and employers," said Dan Cantor executive director of the WFP.

"However, this year's disclosure bill - requiring the State to disclose how many employees of Wal-Mart and other large businesses are gaming the system by shifting their health care costs to taxpayers - is a start towards ensuring that large businesses pay their fair share," said Cantor. "The disclosure bill sets the stage for concrete action next year. Shame can be a useful prod towards taking responsibility. New Yorkers will be able to make a stronger case in 2007 for legislation that establishes employer responsibility as a necessary principle in comprehensive health care reform."

The WFP is urging Gov. Pataki to sign the legislation.

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