AUBURN, Mass. – State Sen. Michael Moore’s amendment that eliminates fines for businesses that hire employees with different health care providers has made it to Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk.
The fair share legislation, authored by Moore (D-Millbury) and state Rep. Linda Forry (D-Dorchester), is part of the health care cost-containment bill.
“At a time when our individual and collective fiscal health depends largely on the success of small business, I was proud to work with the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, A.I.M., the Restaurant and Business Alliance and others in addressing one of their most urgent concerns,” Moore said.
“Passage of this new language will ensure equity and fairness in guaranteeing appropriate health care coverage for all employees, without imposing unfair fines against business owners,” Moore continued.
Currently, businesses are fined $295 per employees per year for uncovered employees, unless the business offers good insurance and has an enrollment rate over 25 percent.
If a business hires veterans, spouses, students or retired workers, they are punished because the current wording of the law does not make exceptions for them. Moore said that the proposed change to the law would fix this loophole.
"This would help create jobs," Moore said. "Right now businesses have to pay this unfair burden, but this legislation would get rid of that, and they could hire more employees. It would help businesses grow."
Dave Andelman, President of the Restaurant and Business Alliance and the CEO of Phantom Gourmet Inc., praised Moore for his dedication to this legislation.
“I applaud State Senator Michael Moore for working on this and being a vocal supporter of this reform,” Andelman said. “I look forward to working with him more next session.”
Rob Branca, owner of Dunkin Donuts franchises in Worcester County, said it was important that Moore spearheaded this legislation to help businesses.
“If I have 10 employees, and two of them receive my health insurance while the eight others receive it from their parents or spouses, then I get penalized for the eight who didn’t get the health insurance from me,” Branca said. “It discourages employers to hire certain people who already have health insurance. Mike understood this is wrong, and he has sponsored an amendment to address this problem.”
The legislation will become law if Patrick signs it by Aug. 10. If signed, the fair share legislation would go into effect on July 1, 2013.