Health Care Reform
Neil supports President Obama's initiatives to reform health care in this country. He understands that the present health care system is broken and something needs to be done.
As chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, Neil has focused on changing the way insurance companies treat people--a key factor in enhancing access to health care. One such victory this year is "Ian's Law" which Neil co-sponsored. This legislation makes it illegal for insurers to drop entire classes of insurance as a pretext to deny coverage to individual policyholders. The bill was named for Ian Pearl, a 37-year-old man with muscular dystrophy who lost his insurance when his carrier, Guardian, terminated the entire class of policies that covered Ian and others. Mr. Pearl became ventilator-dependent in 1991 and relies on a skilled nursing benefit under his insurance policy to receive care that has kept him alive since he suffered respiratory arrest. An internal document from the insurer, released as a result of a legal challenge, showed that company officials justified dropping the entire line of policies statewide in order to get rid of "the few dogs", like Ian Pearl, who were filing claims. Guardian, which denies any wrongdoing, has since settled with the Pearl family and restored Ian's coverage.
Community Health Care
Neil is also a champion of community health care. He has been a staunch supporter of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center which provides care to thousands throughout Albany County regardless of their ability to pay. Neil secured a $500,000 grant for Whitney Young so that the Health Center could reconfigure its administrative offices and add more patient care space to its main site on Lark Drive in Albany.