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

Press Release
May 6, 2005
For more information, contact:
Wally Hart, President
The Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce (518) 725-0641
Matt Stubley, Executive Director
The Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce (315) 866-7820
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 Joins Chambers to Support NY’s Working Uninsured

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care joined with three Chambers of Commerce during the week of May 1-8 – National Cover the Uninsured Week 2005 – to recognize the hardship faced by New York’s working uninsured.

Through a series of media events and proclamations, the Alliance, along with The Otsego County Chamber in Oneonta, the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce in Mohawk and The Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Gloversville came together to spotlight the local impact of New York’s escalating health care crisis.

The groups signed 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. Copies of the proclamation will be sent to every lawmaker in New York State.

All three chambers recognize the need for affordable health insurance as one of its key critical issues, said Rob Robinson, who is president and CEO of the Otsego County Chamber and a member of the Employer Alliance Board of Directors. “Our message is simple – No more mandates. It’s time for Albany to stop exacerbating the problem, level the playing field, and give small businesses some relief.”

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. Mandate legislation is not the answer. When it comes to business, one size does not fit small.”

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, increase the number of people who are uninsured. More information is available at www.employeralliance.com, or by calling (315) 363-9657.