The Greater New York Hospital Association and the area healthcare workers union, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, are floating a proposal to assess a fee on employers that don't provide health insurance. Revenue would be used to expand coverage of New York's 3 million uninsured and bolster the state's financially troubled hospitals. The organizations today launched a campaign to enact the Healthcare Equity & Access Law for New Yorkers (HEAL New York). Under the proposal, employers that don't provide health insurance would pay $3,000 per employee annually, while small businesses would be assessed fees on a sliding scale. The plan would have to be passed by the state Legislature and approved by the governor. The initiative also includes a separate law that would create a $1 billion bond fund to improve hospitals' access to capital, with funding going to projects -- and in particular, information systems -- that advance patient safety, increase access to care and improve the efficiency of the healthcare system. Funding would come exclusively from bond sales. -- by Cinda Becker
N.Y. hospitals, union push tax to increase coverage
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