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February 2, 2004

Urgent Appeal to AEA Members in NY State Call/E-Mail/Write Governor Pataki Immediately To Save the COBRA Subsidy Bill

The Entertainment Industry Health Insurance Coalition, coordinated by The Actors' Fund of America, is urging all Union members to call/write/e-mail Governor George Pataki immediately to save the COBRA Subsidy Bill, which would provide state funds to assist entertainment industry union members in paying for health insurance continuation (COBRA).

What does this mean for NY State Equity members ? Once Governor Pataki signs the bill, New York State will pay for 50% of your COBRA health payments for up to 12 months, if you meet the bill's income eligibility guidelines.

The COBRA Subsidy bill has been on Governor Pataki's desk since December 30th without being signed. There is some concern now that the bill will be vetoed, despite having received, in its amended form, a positive response from people in the Governor's office and from the Department of Insurance.

Between now and Friday, we need to flood the Governor's office with e-mails, faxes, letters and phone calls urging him to sign the bill. We need the involvement both of the union heads and the full membership. We need to have our voices heard loudly one more time.

Below (and attached) is a short, simple text for the written communications. Note that letters and faxes should be copied to the three staff members listed at the bottom of the letter.

E-mails can be entered at this site:

Faxes can be sent to either of these two numbers: 212-681-4643 or 518-474-1513.

Letters should be sent to letter heading, with the cc:'s sent to [Staff Member, Title], State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224.

The phone message (e.g., "As a New York citizen who votes, I am urging Governor Pataki to sign the New York State Health Insurance Continuation Assistance Program S.5644 (Hannon)" can be called into (518) 518-474-8390.

Download the letter below by clicking here (Word Document format).

Sample Text

Governor George E. Pataki
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

I am writing to urge you to act immediately to sign the New York State Health Insurance Continuation Assistance Program S.5644 (Hannon).

The bill, with amendments proposed by your office, has the full backing of the insurance department and the legislature.

This demonstration project builds on the innovative Healthy NY program by making COBRA affordable to low-income entertainment industry workers and victims of plant closings. It is a cost-effective and direct way to keep these workers and their families insured during periods of ineligibility for their union or employer plans.

Thank you for your anticipated support.


Your Name

cc: William F. Howard, First Deputy Secretary to the Governor
Richard M. Platkin, Counsel to the Governor
David Wollner, Assistant Director of State Operations


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