Oxendine warns against increasing tax on health insurers

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine testified to legislators during his agency's appropriations hearings that increasing the tax on health insurers and hospitals would lead to higher insurance rates, more uninsured and could add to the financial hardships facing small hospitals already strapped for cash.

"I felt an obligation to inform the members of the House and Senate subcommittees that the proposal is more than a 1.6 percent tax on health insurers and hospitals," Oxendine said in a press release. "if passed, this measure will increase the cost of health insurance and could force more Georgians into the ranks of the uninsured. In addition, the financial problems that hospitals are already facing will be compounded."

Oxendine's remarks were in response to the Department of Community Health's proposal to raise $317 million in revenue for fiscal year 2010 by imposing a new tax on health insurers and hospitals.