MA: Baker scales back plan for health care fee on employers

The Boston Globe: Governor Charlie Baker’s push to compel businesses to cover more of the state’s ever-rising health care costs gained momentum Tuesday after his administration scaled back a controversial plan that had angered business leaders.

Administration officials asked lawmakers to allow an increase to an existing fee on employers to raise an estimated $200 million annually for health coverage. The request comes just 10 days before the start of the next fiscal year, as House and Senate members are hashing out a new budget amid a revenue shortfall.

Baker had initially proposed raising $300 million in the next fiscal year through a fee that would have charged many businesses $2,000 per worker to help pay the costs of the state Medicaid program, called MassHealth. After a backlash and many subsequent meetings with employer groups, administration officials said Tuesday that they now have a plan that enjoys the business community’s support.

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