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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications
518.465.7511

April 7, 2006

Council launches grass-roots campaign in opposition to health insurance mandates

The Business Council has launched a new Web-based electronic-advocacy campaign to show lawmakers the strong statewide opposition to numerous health insurance mandate proposals circulating in Albany.

“These bills do nothing to help the real problem—the overall cost of health insurance,” the introduction says. “In fact, the legislation is heading in the exact opposite direction by driving up costs to businesses without improving health care for New York's workers.”

The initiative offers business leaders and others to send letters to elected officials voicing concerns about the health insurance mandate, urging lawmakers to reject the “play-or-pay” proposals.

“These bills would force employers—of all sizes—to pay significant fees for worker health insurance coverage,” the introduction page on the e-advocacy site says. “In some bills, it doesn't matter if the business already provides coverage to its employees--it still has to pay. In other bills, it doesn't matter if the business has 10,000 or 1,000 or 100 or even 2 employees--it still pays.”

The introduction also notes that some of the proposals mandate a flat fee of hundreds of dollars per employee to go to a health insurance fund while other proposals mandate a dollars-per-hour fee that would multiply by the total number of employees. The fee would increase each year, based on the medical consumer-price index.

The Council has outlined six of the proposals.

The PDF document describes the size and type of company each bill applies to, as well as the finance particulars and miscellaneous provisions included in each bill.

The Council is collaborating with local and regional chambers in the effort. Several dozen chambers affiliated with The Council through the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS) will be promoting the e-advocacy effort to their own members.

The letters to elected officials can be sent from The Business Council's Web site and from the Web pages of participating chambers of commerce, said Skye Heritage, manager of regional affairs for the Council and the Council's liaison with chambers of commerce around the state.

Visitors to this Web page can enter information on their address and company and automatically generate several letters to Albany, including letters to each legislator from the individual's own district asking them vote against legislation, as well as letters to legislative leaders.

All letters generated through the e-advocacy campaign can be viewed before being sent. Copies of all letters are e-mailed to users.