SEIU: Kennedy Joins Children, SEIU Healthcare Workers To Deliver Message to Bush: One Million Americans Support Healthcare For 10 Million Kids

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2007
11:40 AM

CONTACT: SEIU
Meghan Finegan 617-283-8597 meghan.finegan@1199.org

 
Kennedy Joins Children, SEIU Healthcare Workers To Deliver Message to Bush:
One Million Americans Support Healthcare For 10 Million Kids
SEIU Healthcare, Allies to Launch National Voter Outreach Campaign in Key Congressional Districts
 

WASHINGTON - October 1 – Hundreds of SEIU healthcare workers, healthcare allies, and children marched to the White House today to deliver mail bags overflowing with petitions from one million Americans in support of health care for kids.

Last week, both the House and Senate approved legislation to expand the successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a change that would provide coverage to nearly ten million children whose families cannot currently afford private insurance. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill.

Thousands of healthcare workers gathered the petitions at hospitals, healthcare clinics and community events throughout the country. “Healthcare workers are responsible every day for the quality of care their patients receive and they take that responsibility very seriously. If President Bush vetoes this bill he is in total denial of what it means to be a responsible and caring leader,” said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU Executive Vice President.

“The President and every Member of Congress enjoy guaranteed healthcare coverage. We owe the children of America no less,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who led the bipartisan effort to create SCHIP in 1997 in the face of escalating health insurance costs and poor child health outcomes. “If the President vetoes the CHIP bill, overwhelmingly approved by the Congress, then our duty is clear. We will be back tomorrow, and the next day, and for however long it takes to see this bipartisan bill become law. Just over one month of the war in Iraq would pay for a year's worth of coverage for 10 million kids. The President has broken his promise to America’s children. We must not break ours.”

Senator Kennedy stood with SEIU member Carolyn Chester Taylor as she described how SCHIP allowed her son to get the care he needed. “Without the help of SCHIP, health insurance would cost us one-third of our income. You do whatever you have to in order to take care of your kids, but I just don’t know how we would make ends meet.”


SEIU Healthcare, Allies to Launch National Voter Outreach Campaign in Key Congressional Districts

Today’s event marked the launch of a national campaign directed at passing the children’s healthcare initiative. The effort, to be led by SEIU Healthcare and its allies, will mobilize support for expanding SCHIP, and will target key members of Congress.

Said Dennis Rivera, Chair of SEIU Healthcare, “If President Bush and the Members of Congress who did not support SCHIP think they can deny healthcare coverage for children by casting blame on hard-working parents, they are sadly mistaken. These petitions prove that Americans won’t stand for that argument, nor will they stand with President Bush if he vetoes this bill.”

The Care for Kids petition drive was co-sponsored by Americans United for Change, Campaign for America’s Future, Change America Now, Coalition on Human Needs, Families USA, First Focus, Jobs with Justice, Moveon.org, NAACP, the National Education Association, PICO, True Majority, and USAction.

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The fastest-growing union in North America, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its 1.9 million members are uniting workers to improve their lives and the services they provide. SEIU Healthcare unites more than one million nurses and healthcare workers in the hospital, nursing home, and homecare industries in a national union dedicated to ensuring the highest quality of care for every patient, fixing our broken healthcare system, and improving the lives of healthcare workers, their families, and their communities.

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