State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, agrees with a state policy that makes health insurance coverage available to any part-time state employee working more than 17.5 hours a week.
The coverage available to those employees is the coverage offered to state legislators as well.
"In fact, last year, when the state Legislature approved new employee contracts that included an increase in the employee contribution for health care, it was based on the employee salary,'' Goodell said. "So, the higher the salary, the higher the contribution. That increase also applied to all the state legislators, so the state legislators are paying higher contributions now to the state health plan, as they should. I believe strongly that state legislators should not be treated any better than any other state employees."
Goodell said he is focusing on trying to improve access to health care for all state residents, co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would reduce the cost of health insurance for small business owners by lifting many of the state mandates that apply to health insurance policies. The bill has been co-sponsored by state Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean.
"This approach is consistent with my top priority of trying to make New York state more business competitive so that more jobs can be created in Chautauqua County,'' Goodell said. "Cutting the cost of health care for small business is a key component of making our small businesses more successful ... By keeping state legislators in the same program with the same requirements and the same participants, then it helps ensure that state employees are treated fairly as well."