Flanked by elected officials at the city and state level at Jackson Height's La Boina Roja Steakhouse, Quinn said the branching out of Brooklyn HealthWorks into Queens and Manhattan would provide health insurance to an additional 4,500 city residents."These are tough economic times, but we still need to help out our small businesses," she said. "Quality health care shouldn't be an impossible dream for hardworking New Yorkers."She said expanding the program to other boroughs would require an estimated $4.9 million to be put into the city's budget. But she said allocating the money would be difficult as the nation shows signs of heading toward an economic recession.Employers pay an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent of the cost for employer's health care under HealthWorks' current plan, Quinn said. Individual enrollment in the program costs employees an estimated $220 to $235 per month, while a family plan costs between $651 to $691 per month, she said. Under the current Brooklyn plan, employers typically pay between 80 percent to 90 percent of the cost.Western Queens elected officials said that expanding the program would greatly benefit small businesses in the borough."This is the first time we have been able to provide health insurance to the small business community - that's amazing," City Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) said. "For years, we've had a case of the haves and have-nots."City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) said small businesses make up a majority of city businesses."This program responds to a great social need," he said.State Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D-Corona) said health insurance is one of the top five issues his office deals with daily.More than 1 million city residents are uninsured, according to the city's Health and Mental Hygiene Department.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@times
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