4:45 PM Eastern - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What happened to the public good in the Republican budget proposal? #the-healthcare-law

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  • Standing up for those who need our help most is what we believe.
  • Standing up for our communities is our shared source of pride.
  • Being responsible and accountable to the patients, clients, and consumers who rely upon us to make decisions that improve their quality of care and life.

These are all things the working women and men of SEIU do on a daily basis. We make decisions in the public good every day. Doing the same is not too much to ask of elected officials sent to Washington to act on behalf of all the people in their districts, not just the rich and powerful.

Today, President Obama addressed one of the most critical questions we face as a country -- how we can get our nation on the path to financial security and deliver the essential, quality care and services our fellow Americans need.

In contrast to what House Republicans might have you believe, this challenge we face is not an either/or challenge. Either we cut the federal deficit by cutting services to seniors, the disabled, and the poor or America is going the way of Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Instead, to build the kind of country we all deserve, we must deliver the care and services that seniors in nursing homes, people with disabilities and our children depend upon without asking these same seniors and the middle class to shoulder paying for these services alone. Under the House proposal, seniors' Medicare costs would more than double by the year 2022.

After SEIU members and retirees marched and called and urged Republican members of Congress to support strengthening Medicare throughout the national healthcare debate, it is more than ironic that these same members of Congress now want to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a "voucher program" and passing costs along to seniors.

This is unacceptable. We simply cannot afford for such vital social programs like Medicare and Medicaid to be used as bargaining chips in any kind of "compromise" that would ultimately leave most Americans much worse off than before. The best way to reduce the deficit is to put Americans back to work, but unfortunately after nearly 100 days in power, Republicans still haven't taken any initiative to create jobs.

So, we have a choice: Either we can lay off millions of hardworking Americans, end Medicare as we know it and slash healthcare coverage for millions of seniors, children and people with disabilities -- OR we can ask millionaires to pay their fair share of taxes.

With the House floor vote expected this Friday, members of Congress will show Americans what they stand for: the public good or bigger profits for big business. We'll be watching.

SEIU's response to President Obama's deficit reduction speech today here.

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