When we formed our union nearly 30 years ago at Group Health, we voted ‘healthcare for all’ as part of our bylaws. We worked tirelessly to reform our system to serve the needs of patients, not the profits of insurance companies.As we celebrate the two year anniversary of healthcare reform, we’re seeing improvements in care for families, seniors, women, young adults, and communities of color.Insurance companies used to charge women more than men for insurance, and count domestic violence and c-sections as pre-existing conditions. Being a woman isn’t a ‘condition’ to fix, and now insurance companies have to end these discriminatory practices. We’re providing young adults with a better start as they transition out of high school and college, ensuring they can receive care while they go to school or look for a job. Our seniors can now afford their prescriptions instead of falling into the ‘doughnut hole’, and our community health centers will nearly double the number of patients they see with $11 billion in new funding.
We can’t turn back the clock on this progress and the improved care it’s brought to our patients and families. We’re on the frontlines and at the bedside each day to make sure that each patient receives the best care, and that includes protecting the improvements we’ve seen under healthcare reform.
As nurses and healthcare workers, we are the leading voice for our patients, and that’s why we need to continue to educate our communities about the Affordable Care Act. It’s up to us to continue to stand up to corporate interests and politicians who believe in a broken system that only works for their profits, not for us.
Diane Sosne, RN, MN, President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
Two years ago SEIU nurses and healthcare workers helped move our country in a new direction with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Many benefits of healthcare reform are already making a difference:
Who benefits from healthcare reform?
“Healthcare reform means we’re moving forward so more people have access to better care. We can’t go backwards to when insurance companies could deny coverage if we got sick, skyrocket premiums, or tell us that we’d reached a limit on our lifetime benefits. Our care is better today thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”
Scott Canaday, Angio Tech, Harborview Medical Center
|“We worked to pass healthcare reform because we knew our healthcare system was in a crisis. We couldn’t afford to let it get worse, especially as we see more cuts to healthcare programs, leaving people without care. Some politicians already want to repeal healthcare reform, but we can’t let that happen.”
Kacey Alleman, Licensed Therapist, School-Based Mental Health Program, Catholic Community Services
Caridad Baker, RN 3, Western State Hospital
“I am extremely grateful to the Affordable Care Act, and I know that both of my boys are too. One of my sons is unemployed and my other son works for an employer that doesn’t offer health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, my sons can stay on my insurance while they work toward getting jobs that offer healthcare.”
“Thanks to healthcare reform, kids with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage. So many of the premature babies I see have complications that require ongoing care, and insurance companies used to count that against them. Healthcare reform means better care, and huge relief for parents who know their kids will have coverage.”
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