Baker scales back plan for health care

 

Baker scales back plan for health care fee on employers

The new proposal uses an existing assessment that almost all companies already pay, called the employer’s contribution to medical care, or EMAC, to raise money. This contribution would increase from $ 51 to $ 77 per employee.

But employers whose workers currently receive public health benefits would pay up to $ 750 more per worker.

The new tax would increase about 200 million dollars in the next fiscal year.

In another sweetener for the business world, the administration proposed to change rates of unemployment insurance that employers pay increases less than two years.

Several business groups said on Tuesday they no longer oppose the charges proposed by the governor. They said they appreciated the fact that the evaluation would be temporary and more focused on companies whose employees rely on MassHealth.

“We should examine where we started in January,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Massachusetts Retailers Association. “Compared to what was first deployed, it’s much better.”

But everyone was not ready to let the management plan. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the most vocal groups on the subject, declined to comment, and the house lacked a list of pro-business sound fragments distributed by the administration.

Lora Pellegrini, president of the Massachusetts Health Plans Association, called the new proposals “in general … a positive development.”

“By working with the business world, they found a place of commitment,” Pellegrini said. “They also developed strategies to reduce the cost of MassHealth enrollment and implement market-based solutions for the commercial market.”

Administration officials have called for a number of changes in MassHealth – including strengthening eligibility rules and prescription drug coverage – to projeteront that save the state another $ 115 million dollars per year. MassHealth, which is jointly funded by federal and state governments, provides coverage to about 1.9 million Massachusetts residents, including the poor and the disabled.

Following a strategy used by commercial insurers, management wants to limit the number of MassHealth-like drugs to a particular condition. For example, if there are four drugs available for treatment of a particular condition, officials can not afford the two most cost-effective.

Secretary of the Treasury Baker Kristen Lepore called on House and Senate budget leaders to include the administration’s proposals in the spending plan that they complete for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

“While our government has made it a priority to control MassHealth spending and slowed its growth rate over the past two years, additional steps must be taken to curb program growth,” Lepore said in a letter to Senator Karen E. Spilka and Representative Brian S. Dempsey.

Through his spokesman, Spilka and Dempsey did not comment Tuesday, other than to say that they consider the latest proposal of the administration.