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


Survey shows New York small business owners want a quality public health insurance option, are willing to contribute to a system of shared responsibility; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) supports report’s findings.

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2009 
New York, NY: Small business owners want real health reform, are willing to contribute, and want the option of a public health insurance plan.  These are the surprising findings of the report Taking the Pulse of Main Street: Small Businesses, Health Insurance, and Priorities for Reform released last Thursday in Woodside, Queens by Small Business United for Health Care Reform, a coalition spearheaded by the community group Make the Road New York.
The report documents small business owners’ experiences with private health insurance and perspectives on different reform proposals.  Key survey results for New York challenge the conventional wisdom in three arenas:

  • New York small business owners preferred a proposal with a public alternative to private coverage over a proposal with expanded private market option by a margin of more than 4 to 1 (80 percent to 17 percent, with 3 percent undecided).
  • New York small business owners indicated they are willing to pitch in to make health care work.  Of small employers surveyed, 69 percent indicated they would pay 4-7 percent of payroll or more to guarantee quality, affordable coverage for themselves and employees.
  • New York small business owners indicated a strong preference for more public oversight of the insurance industry by a margin of nearly 10 to 1 (89 percent to 9 percent), and broad support for a stronger government role in guaranteeing access to quality, affordable health coverage, by a margin of more than 7 to 1 , (82 percent to 11 percent).

"The health insurance companies have had a captive audience of us for too long," said Carmen Ledesma, owner of La Parisien Salon in Woodside, Queens.  "I believe we need a quality public option so we can’t be held hostage by the industry any more."  At a time when health insurers are challenging President-elect Obama’s goal to create a public plan as an alternative to private insurance, small business support is likely to be critical to advancing health care reform in 2009.
"As a small business owner, I’m willing to contribute, I’m willing to pay my fair share for a real health care solution," said Graciela Cordoba, owner of Graco Consulting, a small accounting firm in Sunnyside, Queens.  "But small businesses can’t go it alone.  Token gestures like tax credits that leave the current system essentially intact aren’t a real solution.  A real solution is going to require a stronger role for government; that’s why I support creation of a quality public health insurance option."
The report, based on a survey of 1,200 small businesses in twelve states including New York, includes breakout pages with state-specific survey results and profiles of impacted local small business owners (see pgs 18-19 for New York pages and profiles).
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, the Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, showed support for the report’s findings. "Small Businesses are the heart of our communities and the backbone of our economy," said Evelyn Cruz, Congressional Liaison to Representative Velazquez. "The country is looking to small businesses to create jobs and help revitalize our economy.  We need a real health care fix to fulfill that promise."
Small Business United for Health Care Reform is committed to ensuring that as the public debate over health reform ramps up in 2009, members of New York’s Congressional Delegation know that small businesses in New York want real health reform, are willing to contribute to the solution, and are looking to government to play a proactive role with creation of a quality public insurance option.
Taking the Pulse of Main Street: Small Businesses, Health Insurance and Priorities for Reform is available online for download at .