Pam, Ithaca

My name is Pam Gueldner and I live in Ithaca. I am 47 years old. I have been a small business owner for 20 years, but I cannot afford to provide health insurance for myself or my employees.

My business is food service. We have two cafes located on the campus of Cornell University, serving students, faculty, and the public. We have 40 employees. Buying a health insurance policy would likely add 10% to our labor costs, which are 43% of our costs. That doesn't sound like a huge percentage, but when you take into consideration that our profit margin is 0-5%, that would put us in the red every year and we would go out of business.


We have employees who cannot afford to go to the doctor when they get sick.  Not having health care raises anxiety levels in staff, and also creates a lot of turnover because employees eventually must find a job that does provide health care.


If our employees were able to get coverage under NY Health, they would be able to go to the doctor to get medicine for simple illnesses and not spread them as much or be sick as long.  They would be able to see a doctor on a regular basis and establish relationships with doctors and NPs and get regular checkups. We would be able to retain employees longer who have training and experience and have better customer service. NY Health would level the playing field for small community businesses like mine.

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