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Source: Make the Road New York
Subject: Health Justice & Access
Type: Press Advisory

NY Small Business Owners Join Senator Gillibrand and Health Care for America Now! Campaign in National Push for Health Care Reform in 2009

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MAKE THE ROAD NEW YORK: Press Advisory


For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2009

Contact: Sara Cullinane, Make the Road New York and Small Business United for Health Care
(917) 676-3210, sara.cullinane@maketheroadny.org
 

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NY
Small Business Owners Join Senator Gillibrand and Health Care for
America Now! Campaign in National Push for Health Care Reform in 2009

Senator Commits to Being a Health Care Champion in 2009

New York, NY – Senator Gillibrand and members of the New York Congressional Delegation held a health care roundtable with Small Business United for Health Care, a leading New York small business coalition, and 20 other community and labor groups, including Make the Road New York,
from the Health Care for America Now! Campaign this Monday April 13th.
The roundtable highlighted the need for Congress to pass comprehensive
legislation in 2009 that guarantees quality, affordable health care for
all. During the roundtable, Senator Gillibrand heard from small
business owners from New York City who are struggling to provide health
insurance for their employees and families. The health care roundtable
was followed by a press conference in which Senator Gillibrand
committed to championing comprehensive, inclusive health care reform in
Congress.

"As
a small business owner, I am experiencing first hand the difficulties
of obtaining health care for myself and my employees," said Sherriann
Cumberbatch, the owner of Star Bright Laundry in Port Richmond, Staten
Island and a member of the Small Business United for Health Care
Coalition. "Small businesses have had to go it alone for too long when
it comes to health care. We need health care reform in 2009 that will
guarantee quality, affordable care that works for small businesses —
having the choice of a public health insurance plan will go a long way
to creating a more stable, dependable system for small businesses and
their employees."

"I
enthusiastically support Health Care for America Now’s principles for
reform, which include quality coverage you can afford with
comprehensive benefits that meet your needs, the choice of private or
public health insurance plans, and equal access to care in all
communities," said Senator Gillibrand. "This year provides the greatest
opportunity we’ve had in decades to achieve health care for all, and we
can’t pass it up. Now that we have a President who’s made it a priority
to achieve quality, affordable health care for all this year, my
colleagues and I must step up and do the right thing for the people we
represent."

"We
are grateful to have our US Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, fighting to
pass a truly inclusive health care system in the Senate this year, a
system where immigrants have the opportunity to contribute to and
access health care they can afford," said Ana Maria Archila, the
co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. "Covering all people
who are working in the economy, and their families and children is
simply the right thing to do and good health care policy."

"Small
businesses are bearing the brunt of the burden when it comes to health
care costs," said Sara Cullinane, organizer of Small Business United
for Health Care coalition, a group of 300 small business owners,
spearheaded by Make the Road New York, pushing for health care reform.
"The small employers who do offer coverage to their employees have seen
their premiums rise dramatically, while the quality of coverage has
declined. A public health insurance option would give small businesses
real choice and true leverage, increase competition, and drive down
costs for everyone."

"As
an uninsured small business owner, I have had to forgo treatment in two
different medical emergencies and have gone without preventative care
for too many years because I cannot cover the cost of a hospital bill
or a doctor’s visit without health insurance," said Carmen Ledesma,
owner of Parisien Salon, a small business in Woodside, Queens. "We pay
the price dearly for this health care crisis in lost productivity, an
unhealthy workforce and a community deprived of adequate preventative
care. We’re willing to contribute for health care, but we need a shared
commitment among all stakeholders. The cost we can’t afford is the cost
of doing nothing."

The
organizations held the roundtable today to brief Senator Gillibrand on
the highest priority health care concerns of New York working families
and to develop a common strategy to press for health care reform on the
national level. The roundtable participants were: 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU,
ACORN, AFSCME DC 37, AFL-CIO, Citizen Action of NY, Children’s Defense
Fund of NY, Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare,
Community Service Society, Communication Workers of America, Make the
Road NY, Metro Health Care for All Campaign, MoreOn.Org, National
Physicians Alliance, NYC For Change, New Yorkers For Fiscal Fairness,
New York Immigration Coalition, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health
Care We Need, Small Business United for Health Care, and UFCW.

Small Business United for Health Care
is a new coalition of over 300 small business owners across New York
working towards a comprehensive solution to the state’s – and the
nation’s – health care woes. We are a project of Make the Road New York, www.maketheroadny.org, and affiliated with the national Main Street Alliance, www.mainstreetalliance.org.
Our coalition is committed to quality, affordable health care for small
businesses, our employees, our families, and our communities. We
believe it will take a system of shared responsibility where
government, the business community, and employees all pitch in together
to make the health care system work. We’re committed to ensuring that
members of New York’s Congressional Delegation honor the concerns of
small businesses when making decisions about health reform in 2009.

For more information, visit http://mainstreetalliance.org/wordpress/small-business-united-for-health-care/

Health
Care for America Now — the nation’s largest health care campaign — is
made up of more than 950 organizations representing more than 30
million people nationwide. President Obama and more than 190 Members of
Congress support HCAN’s principles for health care reform. All across
the country and in New York State during the April Congressional
recess, HCAN supporters are sponsoring rallies, town halls, marches,
and other events to stress the urgent need for health care reform in
2009 — reform that finally puts our health care needs before insurance
company profits.