Where the ‘excess’ reserves are by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Governor Cuomo’s proposal to expropriate “excess” reserves from Medicaid managed care plans would apparently target just two insurers—Fidelis Care and MetroPlus—even though their reserve levels are not unusually high. [Read_more]

NY health care’s real crisis by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

As Albany lawmakers consider imposing costly new taxes and mandates on health insurance, a report from the New York State Health Foundation offers a timely reminder: The state’s insurance premiums are already among the highest in the country, and rising fast. [Read_more]

The return of Hotel California by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

For a second consecutive year, the state Assembly is poised to pass a union-backed bill that would make it harder for New York government employees to opt out of union membership. This time, at least, it may be debated first. [Read_more]

Senate seeks costly “discussion” by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

The state Senate’s ruling majority coalition hopes state budget talks will include a “discussion about whether the definition of public work should be updated”—shorthand for whether costly union compensation packages should be imposed on a much larger number of projects subsidized directly or indirectly by taxpayers. [Read_more]

More green, less energy by Ken Girardin |  | NY Torch

Governor Andrew Cuomo has married his unrealistic renewable energy targets to his push to steer work to the building trades unions. The likely results: even higher costs—and even fewer projects. [Read_more]

Schumer taps his own state by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

Led by New York's Charles Schumer, U.S. Senate Democrats just unveiled a "Jobs and Infrastructure Plan" that would be financed disproportionately by Empire State taxpayers.

To cover the 10-year, $1 trillion price-tag of their package, Senate Democrats would reverse several provisions of the newly enacted federal tax changes—including reductions in the top income tax rate and in the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). [Read_more]

A surprising surplus in Albany by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Here’s another health care cut that Albany can stop worrying about: Despite losing $1 billion in federal funding, the state’s Essential Plan is actually expected to run a hefty surplus—which the Cuomo administration is using to plug budget holes. [Read_more]

The shape of watered-down SALT by E.J. McMahon |  | NY Torch

The Cuomo administration has released a few more details of its plan to propose an optional payroll tax for New York employers as a way to preserve some of the state and local tax (SALT) deductions capped under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. [Read_more]

A ‘windfall’ tug-of-war by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

Existing state regulations, along with competitive pressures, assure that health insurers will share much if not all of the benefit of federal tax cuts with their policyholders. Rather than trying to grab the money or dictate how it's spent, lawmakers should let market forces do their work.
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