Help young people,19-29 years of age, get access to health insurance.

Call your Senators now: (518) 455-2800

Assembly  A 8401  Senate 5469: Summary and Information

The political paralysis has ended.  And the Senators are back to work.

They should take action right now to help young people get access to good health insurance. There is no need to wait.  The Assembly has passed A8401, sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Morelle.  And, the same bill is pending in the Senate, S5469 (Breslin). This law will offer lower cost insurance to qualified young persons, and preserve New York's landmark community rating system.

On October 2008, BALCONY, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, DEMOS, FREELANCERS UNION and NYU WAGNER ALUMNI ASSOCIATION held a special forum on the plight of uninsured New Yorkers in their 20's -- a group that includes more than 800,000 people, many of them working and/or living in New York without health insurance.

At that time, we issued a report, Young Adults In New York State, which concluded the following:

Providing health care for New York's 800,000 uninsured young adults is costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year as youths are utilizing hospital emergency rooms as their primary care physicians.  Furthermore, a profound human cost is incurred as the uninsured are vulnerable to potentially catastrophic medical hardships and, consequently, economic difficulties.  Young people have some of the greatest health needs, but have significantly reduced access to an adequate health system. Instead, they are faced with combating a system that is structurally and fiscally stacked against them.  

New York State and the federal government should give priority to developing an affordable choice for providing young adults with health insurance. Unfortunately, this issue is clouded by the current uncertain economic times.  

Additionally, this age group is twice as likely to be uninsured as are older New Yorkers, and this group amounts to almost 1/3 of all those who are uninsured.  Many of these young adults are just getting their start in the workforce or work for employers who do not offer health coverage.

Their alternative is to pay nearly $1,000 a month for an individual policy, or roll the dice...bet that their youthful good luck will hold.

BALCONY and the American Cancer Society support this plan to protect the "young invincibles" by granting them the ability to obtain low cost health insurance. We are delighted that key lawmakers decided to maintain community rating and create a special COBRA-type extension that  allows young people to buy into their parent's employer-based coverage.  This would give them the benefit of the group rate, cutting premiums in half (to between $400 and $500 a month).  Employers would not pay.

In the meantime, Gov. Paterson calls for those young people earning less than 200% of the poverty level to be eligible for expanded Family Health Plus, already approved by the Legislature, and now awaiting a green light from the federal government.

Call your Senators now!
(518) 455-2800

The Senators can also show they understand problems people are having during this recession by extending to two years the amount of time that laid-off workers can carry their existing health insurance through COBRA.  This step costs the state nothing, and simply allows individuals to maintain coverage until they get a new job with benefits.

This is particularly important for individuals and families with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer or high blood pressure or diabetes.

The Assembly passed this bill early in June.  Now the Senate should act and pass S5471 ... ASAP!

Call your Senators now: (518) 455-2800

Christopher Ward
Port Authority Executive Director

On June 18, 2009, BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, staged an informative forum on the financial challenges facing New York as we attempt to fund the pressing infrastructure needs of our state and region. Chris Ward, the Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, detailed the authority's $3.3 billion capital plan, warning that key projects may be sacrificed if all available capital is allocated to the Silverstein Project at the World Trade Center site. 
The impact of the $24 billion federal stimulus on New York infrastructure and construction and the recently announced New York State proposal to foster the creation of public private partnerships were debated at the forum by government, business and labor leaders.

Click here for the follow-up (including videos of the presentations): Forum

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey invites you to subscribe to its monthly e-Newsletter "Growing the Region" that highlights the latest news and events from the agency, with particular emphasis on World Trade Center construction progress, including photographs and videos of work at the site. It also provides updates on trade and transportation developments affecting the prosperity of the New York-New Jersey region.

You may sign up for the e-Newsletter, which is also available in podcast format,
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As an agency created to build regional prosperity through transportation and trade development, its job is to plan and build the landmark projects that support economic growth today and tomorrow. An important part of this work is keeping the people who live and work in this dynamic region informed of the efforts that are being taken by the Port Authority and its partners toward those goals.

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BALCONY eBook MEMBER DIRECTORY - Published June 2009

The latest BALCONY eBook provides a full listing of our membership.

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Director, Lou Gordon: loug@balconynewyork.com

Bulletin prepared by Kevin R. Weaver