City Council commits $100,000 to help launch the Freelancers Union’s flagship health clinic modeled after the HTC health center.

New York, NY- Today, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Hotel Trades Council (HTC) President Peter Ward, Health Committee Chair Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Freelancers Union Executive Director Sara Horowitz and Small Business Committee Chair Diana Reyna took a tour of the Hotel Trades Council’s Health Center in Harlem lead by HTC Employee Benefit Funds Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert H. Greenspan. Recently, Speaker Quinn announced plans to help independent contractors and self-employed New Yorkers by working with the Council and the Freelancers Union to establish a clinic to provide low-cost health care for its members.

During her State of the City address, Speaker Quinn discussed the growing cost of health care for New Yorkers. Premiums have risen more than 50% in the last ten years and many employers have been forced to ask their workers to contribute even more. However, the Speaker noted that some employers have found innovative ways to provide quality health care while reducing costs.

“The Hotel Workers Union, under the leadership of Peter Ward, has created a network of one-stop clinics where union members can receive any care they need, free of charge,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “By building a medical community and providing their own insurance, the union has developed a system so efficient they can offer free coverage at a third of the cost of the average HMO. Some may think that sounds crazy. I think it’s crazy we’ve waited so long to try and replicate their success.”

To this end, the City Council will provide an initial investment of $100,000 to establish the Freelancers Union’s flagship Brooklyn health clinic. Through this partnership, the Council will support innovative health delivery for a vulnerable class of New York worker. At the same time, the City Council will work with the Freelancers Union as it expands its model in order to study the possibility of opening the clinics up to city employees. This would offer city workers the chance to receive excellent care focused on prevention and wellness, while reducing their – and the City’s – health care costs in the long run.

“Speaker Quinn recognizes the importance of comprehensive, affordable, and high-quality healthcare solutions that focus on primary and preventative care,” said Hotel Trades Council President Peter Ward. “New York’s hotel workers are proud that our efficient, high-performing healthcare delivery system has become a model of how we can hold down costs while still providing the world-class care that New Yorkers expect and deserve. We are happy to show the Speaker around our state-of-the-art Harlem health center and work with her to expand health care options for all New Yorkers.”

“I am happy to be a part of this innovative health care initiative. I look forward to seeing how this model may be replicated, and I’m confident that the Freelancer’s Union’s health care center and system will be as successful as HTC’s has been,” said Health Committee Chair Maria del Carmen Arroyo.

“New York City is America’s freelance capital,” said Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union, a national membership organization with almost 110,000 New York members. “With the generous support of Speaker Quinn, Freelancers Union’s innovative medical home will connect the new workforce with quality, patient-centered care – ensuring that New York City continues to attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs.”

“The Small Business community is the backbone of New York City’s economy and accounts for approximately two-thirds of the city’s private sector jobs. To provide further context, 60% of these firms have fewer than five employees,” said Small Business Chair Diana Reyna. “Ensuring that independent contractors and the self-employed have access to affordable healthcare eases a significant burden on small businesses and strengthens our local economy.”

“I am proud that outside stakeholders, like Speaker Christine Quinn, providers and patients all agree that the healthcare system created by the New York Hotel Trades Council and the Hotel Association of New York City provides great care. It means we are succeeding in our vision of being proactive – rather than reactive – about health, and have created a system where those who provide care can rightfully be proud of their work while those who receive care can have confidence in their providers,” said HTC Employee Benefit Funds Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert H. Greenspan.