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SEIU: "For working Americans - progress."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 11:02 AM Eastern - Monday, December 21, 2009

Lori Lodes 202.368.6584

SEIU President Andy Stern vows to fight to improve bill, calls out GOP for "rooting for America to fail"

WASHINGTON, DC--Statement of Andy Stern, president of the 2.2 million member Service Employees International Union, the largest healthcare union in the country:

"Tonight, sixty Senators voted to bring the American people one step closer to reforming our health insurance system.

"While the process to get to sixty and the willingness of individual Senators to use the Senate's rules to distort democracy for their own interest was disappointing - make no mistake about it: for working Americans this vote signals progress.

"Right now, thousands of Americans are losing their health coverage each day. Every one of us knows friends and family struggling while the insurance industry makes billions in profits and working people lose their homes, file for bankruptcy and even die -- all because of the fundamental lack of affordability.

"Tonight, under Senator Reid's leadership, the Democratic caucus hung together and took the next step in advancing health care reform.

"And it must also be noted that amidst the intense scrutiny on Democratic Senators, not one single Republican voted for health insurance reform; the Republicans sat on the sidelines jeering, rooting for America to fail.

"Reforming our health insurance system is neither a Democratic issue nor a Republican issue. It's an American priority, and the GOP's failure to participate in solution-seeking is a disgrace.

"In the coming weeks, the Senate, the House and the White House will have a final shot to improve this bill, and make real heath insurance reform meaningful for hardworking families coast to coast. SEIU will fight in Conference Committee to make care more affordable by not taxing American families who pay "Cadillac costs" for mediocre benefits; increase tax credits to make healthcare more affordable for working families; strengthen employer responsibility; and press for more health insurance reforms."

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