Newest unfunded mandate



 Today’s NY Post Editorial is a hard hitting honest appraisal of Albany’s newest unfunded mandate.

Andrew’s first tax

Last Updated: 3:54 AM, November 3, 2011

By all accounts, it was an emotional scene Tuesday as Gov. Cuomo signed a bill requiring health insurers to cover the cost of screening, diagnosing and treating autism.

It may be even more emotional once the law takes effect — and New Yorkers discover just how much their insurance premiums have risen.

And that, in effect, Cuomo and the Legislature have conspired to impose a hefty new tax.

And not just any new tax — but a tax that will make it incrementally more expensive for the private sector to create new jobs.

Cuomo & Co., of course, get to play the part of compassionate white knights — while pretending it won’t cost New Yorkers a dime.

Andrew M. Cuomo

Which is a lot of hooey.

As Paul Macielak, CEO of the NY Health Plan Association, predicts: “This measure will mean an increase of hundreds of dollars to the average family premium and tens of thousands to the costs employers pay for coverage of their employees.”

And that’s not all: The bill — yet another mandate from Albany — will boost the cost of state-subsidized insurance programs.

That’s “state subsidized” — meaning, “taxpayers pick up the tab.”

Which sure sounds like a tax to us.

Even Cuomo’s hapless predecessor, David Paterson, understood this — when a similar bill was passed last year, he vetoed it because of the costs.

The governor insists the new bill is better, because it places a $45,000-a-year per-patient cap on reimbursements.

But the end result will almost certainly be higher health-care costs.

And not just for individual families — as noted above, employers will be socked good and hard in the premiums they pay.

So either businesses pass the higher costs along to consumers in the price of goods and services — a sales tax in everything but name — or they cut their own spending.

And that could well mean layoffs — just what New York needs right now.

To be sure, there is a lot of debate over the rapidly exploding diagnoses of autism, up some 600 percent over the past two decades.

As things stand, one of every 150 children is diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

If legislators think mandatory treatment is so important, they should fund it openly — through the public fisc.

But then they and the governor wouldn’t be able to get away with making New Yorkers believe that they’ve just gotten something for nothing.

Because, in the end, someone always has to pay.


The The Wall Street Journal also makes the case against such an expensive unfunded mandate.

New York’s Mandate Disorder

Governor Cuomo thinks the state needs higher insurance costs.

  • NOVEMBER 4, 2011

One reason U.S. health care is so dysfunctional is that the government rarely learns from its mistakes—or more accurately, government looks at the results, considers them, and then makes them worse. Today’s case study is New York.

On Tuesday Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will require Empire State insurance companies to cover autism, including screening and a variety of treatments. Mr. Cuomo called it “inexcusable that financial constraints would stand in the way of a brighter future for those affected by this disorder.” Autism is a terrible developmental disease, but clicking his ruby slippers together three times and …

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