Mylane Hastings has high blood pressure, is African American, and is a woman. Each of these, she says, is a "pre-existing condition" according to most health insurance companies. After being denied coverage several times and not being able to afford paying into high-cost plans that she was eligible for, Hastings decided to take a pay cut and found a job that provided insurance.
Before having access to employer-based insurance, Mylene Hastings did not have many options. In March 2010, nearly 32 million Americans who lived without health insurance were given the option to access affordable, good-quality healthcare when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. With a simple stroke of the president's pen, vital reforms were put into law - reforms that SEIU members worked decades to achieve for the benefit of all working families.
SEIU, the largest union of healthcare workers in North America, played a pivotal role in winning this landmark legislation that is already at work for millions of Americans. In 2002, SEIU established the Americans for Health Care project uniting healthcare workers, consumers, small business owners, and others to push for healthcare reform. The project became the largest grassroots healthcare reform organization in the country and was instrumental in passing historic legislation in Maryland, New Hampshire, and Maine.
During the Bush Administration, SEIU members blocked many initiatives that would have further damaged the nation's already broken healthcare system. In 2004, 20,000 SEIU nurses, doctors, patients, and advocates marched across the Golden Gate Bridge, letting candidates know that healthcare would be a top priority for the union's voters in the upcoming election.
During the 2008 campaign, we made sure that healthcare was a top priority for candidates in both parties. In March 2007, SEIU and the Center for American Progress hosted the first presidential forum focused on healthcare. After the Obama victory, the union kept pushing until the healthcare reform was signed into law.
Despite the bill's final passage, the right-wing continues to attack the law. We refuse to let anyone undo decades of hard work to get the bill passed, and undo what millions of working families are depending on. There are too many lives at stake. We will continue to stand up to the increasing attacks on working people all over the country and to ensure that the Affordable Care Act continues to work for all Americans.