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

Press Release
May 2, 2005
For more information, contact:
Rob Robinson, President & CEO
The Otsego County Chamber
(607) 432-4500
Pamela Finch, Public Relations Director
Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care, Albany (315) 363-9657

Coalition Beseeches State Lawmakers ‘Support NY’s Working Uninsured’

ONEONTA - The Otsego County Chamber and the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care, under the backdrop of national Cover the Uninsured Week (May 1-8), joined forces today to spotlight the local impact of New York’s escalating health care crisis.

The two organizations presented Senator James Seward (R-51) with a joint proclamation asking state legislators to cease passage of health insurance mandate legislation. These laws require employers who offer health insurance to include coverage for specified benefits as part of the "basic" insurance package, increasing the cost for small business owners and sole proprietors who purchase the plans.

The chamber has recognized the need for affordable health insurance as one of its key critical issues, said President and CEO Rob Robinson. “Many of our members are struggling to offer some form of health insurance coverage to their employees,” Robinson said. “With the multiple challenges facing small businesses today, it is crucial for Albany to understand this message: “You passed the budget passed on time. Now it is time to solve health care. Don’t come home without it.”

The US Census Bureau reports that of the three million people in New York State without health insurance, 65% work full time. Surveys sponsored by the Business Council, NFIB and others have concurred that health care costs are the leading concern for small business in New York and state mandated services and benefits contribute to this cost. In 2003, the Employer Alliance released a landmark study, which concluded that mandated benefits in New York cost every policyholder 12.2% of their premium.

“We are here today, under the backdrop of this national campaign, because we believe that small business owners must have access to affordable health insurance,” said Employer Alliance spokeswoman Pamela Finch. “Employers are already being asked to underwrite NY’s health care system to the tune of $1.4 billion annually through fees and assessments. They cannot shoulder any more. Our message to Albany is this – mandate legislation is not the answer. When it comes to business, one size does not fit small.”

As chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, Senator Seward is addressing small business concerns. The Senator has sponsored legislation to invoke a more rational approach to mandates. His bill (S. 1372/A. 6193) creates a commission to study the cost and benefit impact of health insurance mandates prior to legislative consideration.

The Otsego County Chamber's mission is to provide legislative action and economic development assistance for existing and new businesses. The Chamber offers programs and services that enhance a member's ability to reduce their cost of doing business and to create employment opportunities while promoting Otsego County as an ideal place to live and work. For more information on The Otsego County Chamber – please contact Shelly Giangrant (toll free) at 1-877-5-OTSEGO or by e-mail at shelly@otsegocountychamber.com.

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is a statewide coalition of more than 2,300 small business owners and sole proprietors who believe that everyone should have access to basic, affordable health insurance. Members oppose state health insurance mandate legislation, which increase premium costs and subsequently, add to the number of people who are uninsured. More information is available at www.employeralliance.com, or by calling (315) 363-9657

Cover the Uninsured Week – 2005 Kick-Off


The Otsego County Chamber
May 2, 2005 9:30 a.m.
12 Carbon St., Oneonta


Rob Robinson, President & CEO The Otsego Chamber
Pamela Finch, Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care
Special guest: NYS Senator James Seward (51st District) – sponsor of mandate reform legislation

Business & Community Representatives (chamber & alliance members)
Sheryl – on behalf of Joan Puritz of Crescent Pet Lodge & Veterinary Hospital
Don Marsh, Don Marsh Agency
Robert Harlem Jr., Oneonta Block Company