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Monday, December 26, 2005

Maryland HMOs hand new tax to consumers

(Posted December 26, 2005)
"Maryland HMOs hand new tax to consumers"
Times, December 26, 2005 (by S. A. Miller, The Washington Times)
The roughly $40 million tax that Democrats in the Maryland legislature levied on the state's health-maintenance organizations soon will be passed along almost entirely to consumers, state regulators say.

The 2 percent tax on HMO premiums, which the General Assembly passed over Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto, will cost a family of four about $200 more a year.
Mr. Ehrlich and other Republican leaders warned last year that the tax would be paid by patients and called it a "misguided tax" from an anti-business, Democrat-controlled legislature.

"Unfortunately, patients in Maryland, not the tax-and-spend General Assembly leadership, are the only ones who will pay for this costly lesson in basic common-sense economics," said Sen. Andrew P. Harris, Baltimore County Republican and the Senate's only physician.

However, House Speaker Michael E. Bush said the tax succeeded in stopping the increases in malpractice-insurance rates that purportedly threatened to drive doctors out of business.
[. . .]
The fund stops subsidizing medical-malpractice insurance in two years, but HMOs will keep paying the tax into a Medicaid fund that now gets only some of the tax.

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