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Unions and the “Fair Share Health Care Act”

February 28, 2006

The Unions are at it again. Today they are in Florida holding press conferences at UNITED-HERE Orlando offices pushing for large companies to provide health care benefits for employees. Legislation has been filed known as the “Fair Share Health Care Act” that would impose a health tax in Florida of 7% to 8% to pay for health care coverage for employees. This would be the first time in Florida history that a payroll tax has been levied on employers and the first time that employers have been required to provide health care to their employees. While proposed legislation covers only employers with 10,000 and more employees, history tells us the proponents are subtly trying to get their “foot in the door.”

Union leaders are fighting a lost battle. Currently 30 states are being targeted with “Fair Share Health Care Act” legislation. HB 813 by Representative Susan Bucher (D-West Palm Beach) and SB 1618 by Senator Skip Campbell (D-Tamarac) have already been filed in Florida. Ten state legislatures have already dealt significant setbacks to employer mandate bills. Those states are Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The backers of the “Fair Share Health Care Act” know these bills aren’t real solutions, just political attacks and poor public policy. By forcing businesses to spend an arbitrary amount of their payroll on health care, these bills discourage businesses from offering higher quality coverage at a lower cost. Even worse, these bills will do nothing to make health care more affordable and accessible.

Every working family and business in America is struggling with the soaring cost of health care. This country needs real solutions to this daunting challenge. We need real leadership and a new commitment between government and business to solve our nation's health care challenges. AIF has created a Health Care Task Force which has already begun meeting to address important issue.