SEIU Announces Unprecedented Coalition to Save $2 Trillion in Healthcare Costs, Pass Obama Healthcare Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 1:45 PM Eastern - Monday, May 11, 2009

Lori Lodes, (202) 368-6584 and Michelle Ringuette, (202) 341-7057

'Game-Changing' Moment Marks Success of Union's Long-Term Investment and Leadership in Healthcare Reform Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC-"Today, four years of unrelenting efforts by SEIU members to create a new American healthcare system that lowers cost, improves quality and is affordable for every American took a giant step forward. For SEIU members like Pat DeJong from Montana whose medical bills cost her the family ranch and Paula Hall from Washington State whose medical debt forced her into bankruptcy, peace of mind and real change are now achievable. From the start, SEIU has worked with the belief that this is not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem - it's an American problem and at the heart of who we are as a country," said SEIU President Andy Stern.

Service Employees International Union, AdvaMed, American Hospital Association, PhRMA, America's Health Insurance Plans and the American Medical Association have met with President Obama and committed to the President's vision of meaningful healthcare reform that guarantees every American access to affordable, high quality healthcare. In a moment being charactetrized as a "game changer" by the Administration, the organizations pledged to take aggressive steps to cut healthcare costs that could save the country $2 trillion over ten years and save each American family roughly $2,500 a year.

"If we are going to get our economy back on track, we must tackle the growing healthcare crisis. Everyone - physicians, hospitals, healthcare workers, payers, suppliers, manufacturers - shares responsibility in making sure healthcare reform happens this year," said SEIU Healthcare Chairman Dennis Rivera. "We all understand that guaranteeing meaningful reform is too important to be left to politics. It's a moral imperative, an economic imperative, and essential to the well being of every family in our country."

From the Divided We Fail, Better Health Care Together and Partnership for Quality Care coalitions, which include disparate groups like NFIB, Business Roundtable, Wal-Mart and AT&T, to the progressive coalition Health Care for America Now, SEIU has worked to bring key healthcare stakeholders to the table to ensure reform could happen. As the nation's largest union of healthcare workers - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and others - our workers understand that reducing costs is critical to promoting health and preventing illness.

"It's a sign of how committed industry leaders are to reforming our healthcare system that these groups were able to come together and offer proactive proposals on cutting healthcare costs. Cutting healthcare costs means improving the quality of care patients receive, putting money back into families' pockets and keeping businesses open on Main Street. We may not always agree, and haven't in the past, but we know that this is the moment and now is the time to fundamentally change the way we take care of American families and workers," added Rivera.

"SEIU is firmly committed to bringing about real change to our healthcare system that includes a public health insurance option that provides people with a choice of a public health insurance plan, gives them greater control over their healthcare and creates much needed competition," said Andy Stern. "As providers and consumers, SEIU has played a leading role in the efforts to reform our national healthcare system for years because we know our members, their families and their communities cannot wait any longer for change that works."

NOTE: Background on SEIU's efforts to reform the national healthcare system can be found at http://www.seiu.org/SEIUHCstory/SEIU%20healthcare%20reform%20booklet.pdf

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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.

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