For Immediate Release
Lori Lodes, (202) 730-7680
Mark McCullough, (202) 730-7283
SEIU Commends Senate HELP Committee for Legislation That Guarantees Americans Have Access to Affordable Healthcare
WASHINGTON - Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern released the following statement after the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee concluded its markup of healthcare reform legislation:
"Cathy Stoddart knows our healthcare system is in crisis. As an RN, she spends her days caring for neighbors in her community. As a mother of a child born with a congenital heart defect, she spends her evenings contemplating the nearly $100,000 in medical debt that drove Cathy and her husband to declare bankruptcy. Her story is far too common and threatens the peace of mind for working families across the country.
"It is the Stoddarts and the millions of Americans like them that the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee passed healthcare legislation that truly delivers change. The legislation will lower costs as well as reduce the burden on state and federal budgets. It promises anyone who likes their coverage will keep it while providing a choice for a public health insurance option for those without coverage or with coverage they can't afford. It provides needed subsidies for families and individuals who are unable to afford the care they need. The legislation also creates incentives for coordinated, high quality care that holds down costs and puts Americans and doctors back in charge of medical decisions.
"Sadly not every member of the HELP Committee has the same commitment to ensuring Cathy Stoddart has access to quality, affordable care. Their only answer to the cry for reform is simply ‘No.' Not only did they oppose even the notion of a public health insurance option that guarantees a much-needed choice to families and increases competition in the insurance market, but they attempted to decimate the assistance working families need to pay for healthcare. Democrats gave Republicans every opportunity to engage and create bipartisan legislation and accepted a hundred and sixty GOP amendments. To solve a problem as critical and expansive as our broken healthcare system requires everyone working together with a common purpose, but the GOP has proven they have no interest in creating the new mindset in Washington that voters demanded last November.
"Americans like Cathy Stoddart have much to celebrate in the HELP legislation. Its commitment to making healthcare more affordable is a large step forward in our fight to create an economy that works for everyone. It is now up to the members of the Senate Finance Committee to also guarantee quality, affordable healthcare for all. Each day, more Americans delay treatments and face medical bills they can't afford. We can't afford to waste time or delay reform that guarantees everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare."
With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.