March 11 1993

       LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES       10:00 a.m.

PRESIDING CHAIRMEN:          Senator Coalpietro       Representative Lawlor

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:

SENATORS:                    Maloney, DeLuca

REPRESENTATIVES:             Demarinis, Esposito, Eberle, Donovan, Buonocore, Boughton, Andrews, Cafero,

                             Powers, Jackson-Brooks,Dargan

EDWIN MINZNER:  Hello.  My name is Edwin Minzner, and

    I'm on workman's compensation.  On February 28,

    1991, I was injured at work.  I was working in an

    improperly drained area, and had continually put in

    work orders for the drain to be fixed, at least

    five months prior to my injury.

    The drainage was not fixed because it did not

    impede production.  A few weeks after my injury,

    the drain was fixed.  A few months later,

    additional sewer drains were put in.

    After an unsuccessful surgery, I had many post-op

    x-rays showing multi-level disc herniations.  My

    doctor told me, while reading a letter from the

    insurance company, that I had been out for almost a

    year and it was time for me to go back to work on

    light duty.  I told him and his office staff on

    more than one occasion, that I had to lay down

    several times a day, because of the back pain.

    They told me I would have to work that out with my

    employer.

    On January 1, 1993, as a result of the Supreme

    Court ruling, my wife, my four and a half year old

    daughter, my three year old son and myself were

    notified that we were without health insurance.  It

    felt like something inside of me had died.  We were

    given the option to continue coverage for $4500 a

    year.  I received $16,000 less as a result of my

    injury - how could I possibly afford $4500 for

    health insurance?

    No pun intended, but this is insult on top of

    injury.  I spoke to Curt Andrews, a co-sponsor of

    the proposed worker's compensation bill, and I

    explained my situation to him and he said he

    understood.  He told me he had a bad knee, and

    after playing a couple innings of softball, he

    couldn't walk the next day.  I didn't get a chance

    to ask Mr. Andrews, what does playing softball have

    to do with putting food on the table for my family?

    Before my injury, I played tennis, softball,

    waterskied and was very active in the community.

    As a result of my injury, I lost my $38,000 a year

    job, my health insurance, a house on the lake and

    my dignity because of the stigma attached to

    worker's compensation.  Only the injured know the

    physical, mental and financial pain we go through.

    There is also a constant fear of wondering, when

    will the insurance company stop my benefits for no

    reason?

SEN. COLAPIETRO:  Your time is up.  Could you

    summarize, please?

EDWIN MINZNER:  Yes, I will summarize it.

SEN. COLAPIETRO:  Thank you.

EDWIN MINZNER:  Or go six months without a hearing.

    When you consider this bill, please don't forget

    the real needs of the injured and their families.

    Put yourself in my situation.  Make sure your

    decision comes from the heart, and by God, no one

    should be without health insurance.  Thank you very

    much for your time.