Written by Morgan Haefner | July 20, 2018
Becker's Hospital Review
Massachusetts lawmakers are proposing a tax that would raise more than $330 million for community hospitals by imposing assessments on other healthcare providers — including urgent care centers, according to The Boston Globe.
In June, state House lawmakers approved a bill that would place $330 million in assessments on health insurers and large hospitals, and included new assessments on urgent care centers, retail clinics and surgery centers.
The House proposal would require urgent care clinics to pay 8.75 percent on what they charge commercial insurers. Shaun Ginter, CEO of CareWell Urgent Care, which has 16 centers in Massachusetts, told the Globe: "This assessment threatens the entire industry. Urgent care centers operate at a very low margin, barely profitable. For an assessment to be levied, it will put much of the industry if not the entire industry at risk of closing down."
Mr. Ginter added if urgent care centers close, hospital emergency department visits will increase and drive up costs.
While lawmakers intend the tax to help community hospitals offset the high cost of serving low-income, underinsured individuals, other stakeholders affected by the tax, such as businesses groups expecting health insurers to raise rates due to the tax, argue the assessment will increase premiums for consumers.
Massachusetts lawmakers have until July 31 to approve the bill before the formal legislative session ends. Under the bill, health insurers would pay $247.5 million in new assessments and large hospitals would pay $90 million, according to the Globe.
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