Official: Massachusetts open to compromise on health insurance fee

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BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker’s top budget official says the administration is open to compromise with business leaders over a proposed health insurance fee.

The proposal contained in the Republican governor’s $40.5 billion state budget plan would impose a $2,000-per-worker assessment on companies that have more than 10 employees but do not currently offer health insurance benefits.

Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore said Thursday at a hearing of the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee that the assessment would raise $300 million to help offset rising Medicaid costs that currently eat up 40 percent of the state’s entire budget.

Several leading business groups have criticized the employer charge as an unfair shift in costs.

Lepore said the administration was open to other suggestions but added: “Something has to be done.”

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