Thursday, June 22, 2006

State Senate passes Disclosure Bill

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. The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S6682 - Maziarz) requiring disclosure of:
  • The number of employees of the state's largest employers (200 or employees) enrolled in public health insurance programs.
  • The cost each of these employers imposes on the state.
Earlier this week, we announced that the Fair Share for Health Care Act would not pass this legislative session and called for legislation that would provide more information on the burden placed on taxpayers by employers that don't provide benefits.

Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor had this to say:
"If the legislature is not ready to expand access to health care by reconstructing the social compact between workers and employers, then we hope that they will start by using shame as a tool: requiring the State to disclose annually how many employees of Wal-Mart and other large businesses are enrolled in Medicaid and other public health insurance programs.

This year's disclosure bill sets the stage for concrete action next year. We believe this legislation will enable concerned New Yorkers to make a stronger case in 2007 for legislation that establishes employer responsibility as a necessary principle in comprehensive health care reform."
The WFP urges the Assembly to pass the bill and Gov. Pataki to sign it.

1 comment:

Terry Grace said...

First, the Working Families Party position paper on the impact on Long Island of the Fair Share for Health Care bill misspells the word "Nassau". Not good for putting one's best literate foot forward.

Second, I agree entirely with the bill to force businesses to pay at least partially for health insurance FOR DOCUMENTED WORKERS ONLY. Undocumented workers are not invited to work here, broke the law as they entered the country and have no right to my money involuntarily paying for for their benefits. People who enter and work without documents take their chances.

Third, workers should be allowed to opt out of employer paid health insurance if they have better insurance through a spouse's plan or other source.

Fourth, the only setback I see is that sleazeball companies like Walmart will hire illegal aliens in order not to have to take responsibility for their employees. They won't complain! But it is not fair to all businesses to have some opt out of the law!

GO GET 'EM!!! Terry Grace, NYC