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Press Release
March 25, 2007

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Benefit & Cost Commission Brings Overdue Level of Transparency 

Today the Senate added a level of transparency to our state government by approving S.3020, an act to create the New York Health Benefit and Cost Commission. This legislation creates a commission to study health insurance mandate legislation and provide lawmakers with critical information to assist them in the decision-making process prior to the legislation’s passage.

Lawmakers introduce close to 100 different health insurance mandates every year. Studies have found a direct correlation between premium costs and these mandates. A 2003 actuary report released by NovaRest Consulting found that health insurance mandates cost premium payers nearly $1,300 per family policy per year, equating to 12.2% of the total premium costs. Barents Group estimates that in New York, for every 1% increase in premiums, 30,000 New Yorkers lose health insurance. The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care has rallied for creation of a mandate review commission since being founded 10 years ago and this past spring the Governor and Legislature also recognized the need and took action to rectify the problem by approving a $300,000 budget allocation. This implementing legislation is the final step needed for its creation.

“Today’s vote shows that business concerns are being heard,” said Jeff Leland, president of Leland Paper Co. in Glens Falls and Chair of the Employer alliance for Affordable Health Care. “Lawmakers recognize that health insurance costs are now the greatest concern among New York’s businesses. We applaud the Senate for making a decision that provides greater accountability to premium payers and provides a direct cost savings to those who purchase fully insured policies. New York business owners who are committed to providing their employees with basic, affordable coverage appreciate the recognition and help.

Twenty- six other states already utilize some type of independent body to study the cost and medical efficacy of health insurance mandates prior to passage, including our closest neighbors of Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

“By addressing the correlation between mandates and premium costs, the Senate is taking action to ensure that precious health care dollars are sensibly spent,” said Executive Director Pamela Reese Finch. “Today’s decision shows a new level of transparency in our state government and we encourage the Assembly to follow this example to ensure that New York has a mandate review commission in place by the end of this fiscal year.”

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is the largest single-issue grassroots business coalition in New York State - 2,500 small business owners and sole proprietors representing more than 200,000 working New Yorkers. To learn more, visit our website at www.employeralliance.com.