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INSURERS ISSUE STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR'S 'SICK TAX'

 INSURERS ISSUE STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR'S 'SICK TAX'
 NEW YORK, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was


released today by the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA):
 We applaud the State Senate Majority, under the strong leadership of Senator Ralph Marino, for resisting attempts by the governor and Assembly Democrats to impose a "sick tax" on private insurers and their consumers as part of the state's budget closing plan. The Democrats want to increase the head start Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield already enjoys over private insurers by increasing the difference in in-patient hospital reimbursement rates from 13 percent to 25 percent.
 This proposed "sick tax" would be bad public policy, both fiscally and socially. It should be defeated.
 It would not raise the $160 million the governor and speaker project. At best, it will raise only a small fraction of that but at the same time increase the cost of health insurance for New Yorkers seeking quality coverage from a private carrier. If this hike causes private insurers to lose customers, the state will lose the millions of dollars these insurers already pay in state income and premium taxes each year.
 Finally, the "sick tax" will giver consumers fewer health insurance options and worsen the problems of affordability and access and increase the possibility of a Blue Cross/Blue Shield monopoly.
 That's why many New York employers and insurance agents, in addition to private insurers, have voiced strong opposition to this tax.
 The Senate must continue to protect not only taxpayers' wallets but also their need for competition to preserve affordable insurance for all New Yorkers.
 -0- 12/31/91
 /CONTACT: Kathy Murphy of Aetna, 203-273-3847 or 203-630-2721, or Chris Petersen of HIAA, 202-223-7817/ CO: Health Insurance Association of America; Aetna ST: New York IN: INS SU:


JT -- NY038 -- 5958 12/31/91 17:21 EST
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Date:Dec 31, 1991
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