New York state government has become addicted to more than $4 billion in taxes and surcharges that drive up healthcare costs, according to a new report from the Empire Center for Public Policy.

The report, “Hooked on HCRA,” examines the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA), which was adopted by the state Legislature in 1996 and created taxes and surcharges that together have grown to become the state’s third-largest tax.

“State government started using these taxes in the 1990s, and they got hooked on them,” said report author Bill Hammond, the Empire Center’s health policy director. “These taxes aren’t being spent the way they were originally intended, and they’re making health insurance less affordable for the very people the state wants to get insured.”

Hammond explains:

  • The Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) began as an effort to bring market-driven change and efficiency to New York’s hospital industry, but has evolved into little more than a mechanism for generating revenue.
  • HCRA’s insurance taxes hit working- and middle-class consumers as hard as the wealthy, adding substantially to the cost of health coverage for everyone—but typically remaining hidden from public view.
  • While some money collected under HCRA is supposed to help compensate hospitals for treating the uninsured, the funds are distributed haphazardly. Some hospitals collect far more than the cost of charity care they provided, while some safety-net institutions receive just pennies on the dollar.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and do business.

You may also like

$140K Average Pension for New Full-Career FDNY Retirees

Nearly 70 percent  of  of last year’s 470 retirees from the City of New York’s Fire Department (FDNY) were eligible for six-figure pensions Read More

Six-figure NYSLRS pensions quadruple in ten years

The number of New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) retirees eligible for six-figure pensions quadrupled over the last seven years. Read More

Testimony: Build Public Renewables Act Undermines an Effective Market

The Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) threatens to do far more harm than good to New York’s energy landscape Read More

CLCPA Renewable Energy Targets can be met only at Great Cost, Report Shows

New York can increase its use of renewable energy and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, but it cannot do so cheaply or safely. Read More

Statement: Independent Pandemic Research Commission is Needed

Today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she is issuing an RFP for a review of the state's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic Read More

Empire Center Adds Three Policy Fellows

The Empire Center is expanding its research operations with the addition of three research fellows. Read More

$68 Million in DASNY Pork Projects Range from Recreation to Legislative Drafting

A total of $68 million in grant awards was steered to 276 local projects between November 2021 and March 2022 by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York Read More

Average Pay Spiked Last Year at Some NY Public Authorities

ALBANY, NY — 2021 for 82,513 New York public authority employees working at 320 different agencies is newly posted on , the Empire Center’s transparency website. The site now contains 2021 payroll data for a total of 172,947 emplo Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!