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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

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