Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:40 pm
Wisconsin Alliance of Cities executive director Ed Huck, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO president David Newby and Michael Ryome, human resources manager of Graphics Packaging International Inc.’s facility in Wausau, wrote a commentary that was recently published.
Their commentary stated that SB 698 (the Wisconsin Health Care Partnership Plan) would control and reduce health insurance costs, keep quality health care affordable and establish a level playing field for all employers by requiring that all employers pay their fair share toward the cost of health care for Wisconsin working families.
However, I would encourage (area businesses) to carefully think through this proposal as to how it may affect them.
SB 698 basically changes health insurance for an employer from a free market incentive fringe benefit to a state mandated payroll tax. All Wisconsin employers, whether they currently provide health insurance benefits or not, would pay a flat fee tax per month, per employee, including low-wage and all part-time employees.
Just to get the discussion going, and maybe your juices flowing, how about asking some tough questions?
• If we change the Wisconsin state law making health insurance for employees mandated for all full- and part-time employees, will this open the door for pension programs, auto allowances and any other fringe benefits to become mandated and paid for through yet another additional tax on employers?
• How many Wisconsin employers who currently provide better health insurance coverage for their employees would dummy down their coverage to the lower flat tax level?
• What impact will an additional state payroll tax have on those employers currently financially unable to offer health insurance to their employees, i.e. in the lower-wage, part-time, tourism/recreational/retail and service industries?
• What impact would this have on those employees/employers covered by labor contracts?
• Finally, and most important, is this a state issue? Or, would this issue be more properly addressed at a national level?
I’m sure many of our (area businesses) have other questions to ask. Those are just a start.
My point is, the potential long-term ramifications are too significant not to begin now to help provide answers to these questions and directions to our state legislators.