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

Press Release


Date: Oct 22, 2010
Contact:Pamela Reese Finch


Governor’s veto of Autism Mandate is squarely on target


A statement from the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care


ALBANY – Governor David A. Paterson showed a commitment to fiscal responsibility yesterday in vetoing a bill that would increase private health insurance costs through expanded coverage of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“The Governor exhibited true leadership – putting emotions aside to recognize that this and every health insurance mandate has a real cost,” said Pamela Reese Finch, executive director of the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care. “The Legislator overlooked the known fiscal ramifications of this measure and in doing so, knowingly put many people who work in small businesses at risk of losing their health insurance. While many factors contribute to rising costs, we can rejoice in having one less stressor to worry about in the coming fiscal year.”

Studies conducted in other states found that expanded coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder typically increases private health insurance premiums between 2 and 6 percent. In New York, the current, cumulative impact of mandates ranges 12.2 to 14.2 percent annually on New York’s privately insured – primarily small and medium-sized businesses. Federal law gives larger companies the option to opt-out of state-mandated coverage.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average health insurance policy in New York State cost $5,121 for single coverage3 and $13,757 for family coverage, with employers still paying as much as 78% toward the total costs. In his veto message, the Governor noted that the fiscal impact would span beyond private insurance payers as taxpayers would also be forced to absorb greater costs associated in making greater treatment available in state-subsidized plans.

“This measure guaranteed higher health insurance costs for small businesses,” Reese Finch said. “New York has a Health Care Quality and Containment Commission already established to vet this type of legislation prior to passage. We hope that in the future, Legislators will feel obligated to put feel good election year agendas aside and adhere to their own, pre-established process of checks and balances.”

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.