We urge Ohio Legislature to not override veto on increasing the health insuring corporation franchise fee
On Friday, June 30, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 49, the state operating budget, into law. He used the line item veto on 47 separate occasions. The Ohio House and Senate are returning this week to consider overrides of a number of the vetoes. NFIB/Ohio, along with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, are urging the Ohio Legislature to not overturn the Governor’s veto on a provision included in the budget that could increase the corporation franchise fee to generate additional dollars for local governments.
Our letter is below:
Ohio House of Representatives
77 S. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Added to the state budget, House Bill 49, during the conference committee process was a provision that requires the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to ask the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) whether or not the newly created health insuring corporation franchise fee can be further increased in order to generate an additional $207 million for local governments. If CMS says “yes,” the language requires ODM to seek approval to move forward with the franchise fee increase.
Gov. John Kasich vetoed this provision from HB 49. Should a veto override be attempted, we urge you to sustain the governor’s veto.
Our associations collectively represent over 30,000 employers, many of whom purchase health plans that would be subjected to this new tax. Our specific concern is with the impact this would have on health insuring corporation plans (commonly referred to as health maintenance organizations, or HMOs), which are health plans not involved in the Medicaid market.
If the additional tax were to be approved by CMS and subsequently implemented, the potential cost impacts are worrisome.
Health insurance costs continue to climb year after year. They are consistently a top concern of most employers. In fact, in 2016 the average annual premium for an HMO plan with family coverage significantly increased. Employers can’t just continue to absorb higher premium costs due to government interference in the marketplace.
We are sympathetic to the concerns raised by Ohio’s counties. However, Ohio should be doing all it can to make private health plans more affordable, not more expensive. When employers have to pay more for health insurance, it prevents them from investing capital to create jobs and also means less money going to workers. We urge you not to vote to override the veto of this provision. Thank you.
Christopher J. Ferruso
Legislative Director, NFIB/Ohio
Vice President, Government Affairs, Ohio Chamber of Commerce