FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2017
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Senate today voted 33-1 to pass an Obamacare-style tax hike mandating health insurance plans to cover certain treatments for autism spectrum disorder. The bill would mandate coverage for autism therapies even though the overwhelming majority of policyholders who will pay for this coverage will not benefit from it.
“The Business Council of Alabama continues to remind lawmakers that mandates are not free. It is a tax on those with health insurance,” BCA President and CEO William Canary said today. “The Legislative Fiscal Office still hasn’t scored the cost impact on the public and private entities that will be convicted by this mandate. Because this mandate remains unfunded, government plans have been delayed, meaning 60 percent of the children who most need this coverage financially are delayed from obtaining ABA therapy in the immediate future – unfunded and cruel.”
The BCA has consistently raised cost concerns as this insurance mandate would directly impact the ability of employers to provide health insurance to employees. The Legislative Fiscal Office has yet to provide any cost estimates of the impact of HB 284 to taxpayers. The Senate-passed version removes a House-passed requirement that allows an insurance provider to opt-out of providing coverage should the cost of providing ABA therapy exceed one percent of the total premium charged by the insurance company. The Senate bill also delays implementation of coverage for Medicaid, ALL Kids, PEEHIP and SEIB to Dec. 31, 2018, while forcing private insurance to immediately begin providing coverage.
The bill now returns to the House, where it passed 100-0 in April.
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan, statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Contact: Nancy Wall Hewston or Dana Beyerle (334) 834-6000