New tax to fund state health exchange faces questions from some lawmakers

Some lawmakers, and The Business Council of New York State, are challenging the Cuomo administration’s push for a new, $69 million annual tax to fund the state’s health exchange.

The Republican-led State Senate eliminated the proposed tax from its one-house budget.

Cuomo set up the exchange through an executive order after the Senate refused to consider creating it. The order Cuomo issued dictated that the exchange was to become self-sustaining by this coming fiscal year.

But lawmakers are questioning why the tax, which would be funded through an increase in the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) assessments paid by insurers, is necessary and wondering whether the money to fund the exchange can be found within the $5.5 billion the HCRA tax already generates each year.

Heather C. Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council raised that question and other regarding the proposed new tax last week during a statewide television interview with Capital Tonight host Liz Benjamin.