Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group

Press Release


Date: June 11, 2010
Contact:Pamela Reese Finch


Autism Mandate contradicts what NY really needs


A statement from The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care

ALBANY - Small businesses suffered another blow this week when the Senate approved a measure that will deliberately increase healthcare costs and at the same time, circumvented a necessary legislative process.

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care, the largest, single-issue business coalition in New York State, is disappointed with the Senate’s passage of S.7000-B, a measure that will expand private health insurance related to Autism Spectrum Disorder to include a broad base of educational and other non-medical related treatments, said Executive Director Pamela Reese Finch. The vote passed despite advance indications that the mandate will increase health insurance premiums, and was passed on the same day that the Governor signed legislation implementing changes to insurance industry regulations, a measure which some small business advocates believe will further decrease industry competition.

“It makes no sense that state leaders would claim to want lower health care costs on Tuesday, then turn around on Wednesday and pass a law that is historically guaranteed to increase premiums even more,” Finch said. “The only unknown factor is truly how much more of an increase will small businesses experience, since other states that have Autism legislation have estimated the measure to cost as much as 6%.

Our small businesses owners were let down this week on many levels and truly disappointing is the fact that legislators ignored their pre-existing obligation to vet the measure before the Health Care Quality Cost Containment Commission for cost and medical efficacy before taking a vote.”

The bill is expected to go before the Assembly next week. If approved, S.7000-B would become New York’s 52nd coverage mandate, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance. Presently the cost of paying for New York’s mandated coverage equates to 14.2% of annual premiums or $659 to $1,821 per policy holder based on 2008 premiums.

The current budget discussion has also resulted in the removal of a special subsidy established three years ago to help small businesses offset the costs of the 2007 Mental Health Mandate. The $100 million allocation was eliminated in Governor David Paterson’s executive budget proposal.

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is a coalition of more than 3,400 employers and individuals from across New York, representing more than 200,000 working New Yorkers, committed to preserving quality affordable health care.