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

Press Release
May 16, 2006


Employer Alliance Releases Report Card on Lawmakers
Albany’s Lawmakers are Graded on their Commitment to Affordable Healthcare

ALBANY - The Employer Alliance for Affordable Healthcare completes their newest report card and again evaluates lawmakers in Albany for their commitment to affordable healthcare. This study, released by the largest single-issue business coalition in New York State, evaluates each Assembly Member and Senator’s voting record on issues pertaining to health insurance affordability.

Lawmakers’ grades are based on voting and bill introduction records on bills related to health insurance mandates, sponsorship of mandate reform legislation and overall understanding of the issue. The grading is cumulative, compiled from two consecutive legislative years to provide a more accurate view of each legislator’s overall position. Grading is defined as follows: “A” is excellent, “B” is good, “C” is fair and “D” stands for poor. Legislators that were absent for two or more votes received an incomplete grade, “INC”.

This year, three legislators were given special recognition for their steadfast opposition to all mandates. The “Senator of the Year” was awarded to the Senate Insurance Committee Chair, James L. Seward (R-Oneonta). Senator Raymond A. Meier (R-Utica) was given the “Senator of Distinction” award and the “Assembly Member of the Year” was awarded to Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-Kenmore).

The 2004-05 Report Card shows that although health insurance premium costs were spared the unnecessary burden of legislative mandate passage, significant improvements are required if lawmakers are truly committed to controlling insurance premium costs. The Employer Alliance for Affordable Healthcare is a group of business owners and individuals who believe that everyone should have access to basic, affordable health coverage. The group opposes mandates passed by the New York State Legislature that require specific treatments or coverage and contribute to rising insurance costs.

“Our members rely on this document to accurately assess their lawmaker’s position on issues that ultimately determine their access to coverage”, said Alliance Chairman Jeff Leland. “Every time Albany passes a law that adds a treatment or service to the basic health insurance policy, the cost is passed onto the consumer, with the exception of businesses that self-insure. That forces New York’s small businesses and sole proprietors to carry the full financial burden. While many lawmakers claim to understand this hardship, it is only through their actual bill sponsorship record and voting history that we see who among our representatives truly understands this issue.”

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.

2004/2005 “A-List” Legislators with a grade “A-” or higher

Assembly member Jim Bacalles,
136th District, Steuben and Yates counties, “A-”

Assembly member William A. Barclay,

12th District, Onondaga and Oswego counties, “A-”

Senator Neil D. Breslin,
46th District, Albany County, “A”

Senator Joseph L. Bruno,
43rd District, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties, “A”

Senator John A. DeFransisco,
50th District, Onondaga County, “A”

Senator Martin J. Golden,
22nd District, Brooklyn County, “A”

Senator Owen B. Johnson,
4th District, Suffolk County, “A-”

Senator Vincent L. Leibell II,
40th District, Putnam, Dutchess and Westchester counties, “A”

Senator Elizabeth O’C. Little,
45th District, Clinton Franklin, Essex, Hamilton, Warren and Washington counties, “A”

Senator Serphin R. Maltese,
15th District, Queens County, “A+”

Senator Raymond A. Meier,

47th District, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oneida counties, “A”

Senator Thomas P. Morahan,
38th District, Rockland and Orange counties, “A”

Senator Michael F. Nozzolio
, 54th District, Seneca, Wayne, Monroe, Tompkins, Ontario and Cayuga counties. “A”

Assembly member Bob Oaks,
128th District, Oswego, Wayne and Cayuga counties, “A-”

Senator George Onorato,
12th District, Queens County, “A-”

Senator Suzi Oppenheimer,
37th District, Westchester County, “A”

Senator Mary Lou Rath,
61st District, Erie and Genesee Counties, “A”


Senator Stephen M. Saland,
41st District, Columbia and Dutchess counties, “A+”

Senator John L. Sampson,

19th District, Kings County, “A”

Assembly member Robin Schimminger,
104th District, Erie and Niagara counties, “A-”

Senator James L. Seward,
51st District, Herkimer, Tompkins, Cortland, Chenango, Otsego, Schoharie and Greene, “A+”

Senator Dean G. Skelos,
9th District, Nassau County, “A”

Senator Caesar Trunzo,
3rd District, Suffolk County, “A-”

Senator Dale M. Volker,
59th District, Wyoming, Erie, Livingston and Ontario counties, “A-”

Senator James W. Wright,
48th District, Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties, “A+”