Gov. Baker to sign health care fee, wait on Medicaid changes – Sacramento Bee

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker planned to sign off Wednesday on a new $200 million health care assessment on Massachusetts employers, pulling back from his earlier insistence that lawmakers tie the fee directly to cost-saving measures in the state’s Medicaid program.

“We’re going to take the Legislature’s word for it that they are serious about dealing with this issue and we believe signing this is the best way to support this,” Baker said, after weighing and rejecting the option of a veto.

The two-tiered fee will increase the existing employer medical assistance contribution, known as EMAC, from $51 to $77 per employee for most businesses. But under the plan employers would have to pay a much higher contribution of $750 for workers who are enrolled in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

The governor shelved his earlier plan to impose a $2,000-per-worker charge on businesses that do not provide adequate health care benefits, after that idea was met with resistance from several major business organizations.

Many of those same business leaders endorsed Baker’s revised EMAC fee after it was coupled with proposed changes designed to trim about $150 from MassHealth, which costs $16 billion annually and consumes some 40 percent of the entire state budget.

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