The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lori Lodes, (202) 368.6584

SEIU: Introduction of the U.S. Senate's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Puts America One Step Closer to Health Insurance Reform that Works for the American People


Service Employees International Union's (SEIU) President Andy Stern released the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate's release of its Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"For close to a century, Presidents and congressional leaders have debated ways to fix our healthcare system. A system that leaves too many hardworking families struggling to get by or facing economic ruin. Each go round, politics, special interests and scare tactics said we can't. "We can't change. We can't make our country better. We just can't." Not this time.

"Just eleven days ago, the United States House of Representatives defined leadership by passing the historic Affordable Health Care for America Act. And now, under Senator Reid's strong leadership, the Senate has introduced their own legislation that gets us one step closer to healthcare that works for the American people's bottom line, instead of insurance company profits. Senator Reid listened to the American people and made sure this bill keeps insurance companies from controlling our healthcare system by guaranteeing choice and accountability through a public health care option.

"This is the Senate's opportunity to stand up and say "Enough!" No more scare tactics. No more kowtowing to conservative obstructionism. No more politics as usual. No more hesitation.

"We all know the stakes, and we've all seen the statistics. But on the minds of each of the 44,000 Americans losing their health insurance this week lurks the threat of a potential disaster. Each of the 17,000 Americans forced into bankruptcy because of medical debt this week must accept the death of their dreams for their family. And the loss of 400 of our sisters and brothers this week simply because they lacked insurance is nothing short of a national tragedy.

"We are at this historic moment because Democratic members of both chambers chose leadership and governance over obstruction and timidity. But there is no such thing as a Republican filibuster. Every American deserves a vote on healthcare. And, every Democratic member must stand shoulder to shoulder with their fellow colleagues and allow the Senate to vote on true health insurance reform.

"The American people expect and deserve results. It's up to the Senate to deliver."

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.