Maryland Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandated Health Care Legislation

July 19, 2006

The Maryland Supreme Court released an opinion today invalidating Maryland’s recently passed “Fair Share Health Care Act,” which was enacted after legislators overrode a veto by the state’s governor.  The legislation would have required private employers with more than 10,000 employees to devote anywhere from 8 percent to 11 percent of their payroll to health insurance.  This action by the Maryland Supreme Court sends a strong message to those proponents of this “payroll tax” that their efforts to mandate healthcare spending violate federal law.

Read the court’s opinion on the issue.

Over 30 states, including Florida, have been targeted as potential battlegrounds for the passage of similar legislation.  Last session, HB 813 by Representative Susan Bucher (D-West Palm Beach) and SB 1618 by Senator Skip Campbell (D-Tamarac) were filed, but saw no action thanks to House and Senate Leadership.

In response to what happened in Maryland, Associated Industries of Florida created a Health Care Task Force back in the fall of 2005 to deal with the issue of mandated healthcare spending.  The Task Force has been meeting on a regular basis, keeping employers up to date on all the most recent activities across the country on this critical issue.  If you would like more information on this subject or would like to join the Task Force please contact Jose L. Gonzalez, Dir. of Governmental Affairs, at 850-224-7173 or by email at jgonzalez@aif.com.

Below is a statement release today by WAL-MART on this matter:

We are please that the Federal judge in Maryland has ruled in favor of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and said that Maryland’s mandated health care law conflicts with federal ERISA law and is null and void.

This law did nothing to control the cost of health care or improve access to health care, so it’s no wonder that legislators in 28 other states rejected this as bad public policy.  “We’re providing real solutions to bring more affordable and accessible health care to our associates and their families, like providing coverage to children of part-time associates, expanding the availability of the new $11 per month Value Plan, and by reducing the waiting period for part-time associates to become eligible for coverage.

“We are dedicated to improving health benefits options to our associates.  In fact, we are among the largest providers of private sector health insurance in the nation with more than 1 million people covered through our insurance.”

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Hannah Siemers (703) 600-2021