Dr. Marcus SandlingSince the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 there is good news and bad news: the good news is millions are enrolling for healthcare in state and federal marketplaces--most of them working families and young adults--helping bring down the rate of the uninsured to the lowest it has ever been. The bad news is thanks to a Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell scheduled for arguments in early March, more than 8 million moms and dads could lose their insurance coverage if they no longer have financial assistance to help them pay for their healthcare. Without those people paying into the system the costs of the remaining premiums may go up which could force even more people to lose coverage.

I am a third-year internal medical resident at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a member of SEIU's Committee of Interns and Residents. I have been working to support the ACA since it was first passed into law. While working in various medical hospitals and medical clinics, I have seen firsthand the effects of healthcare reform on those to whom I have provided care.

Before the ACA, patients with chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes who lacked health insurance would come in to see me only when they could afford treatment. More often than not, they would have to postpone care or stop receiving it altogether because eventually they could not cover the costs. This would prevent them from getting their prescription medication or from being referred to a specialist for follow up care. Often we would not see the patients again until their conditions became serious or critical.

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9:37 AM Eastern - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RN calls on Supreme Court to keep healthcare affordable for new mothers #default

Marilyn Albernas-RalatAs a postpartum nurse, I have the great honor to witness the bond of mothers and infants in the first hours after delivery. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I have seen noticeable improvements in babies' health and the moms' readiness to care for their little ones.

Prenatal care is not only essential in preventing complications during child birth but it gives nurses time to teach parents about possible health issues that may arise. Having affordable insurance coverage is critical in providing access to quality healthcare for both mothers and infants.

Before the healthcare law, I saw many babies at risk and needing emergent care in the neonatal intensive care unit. Many of these cases could have been prevented if the parents had health insurance and access to prenatal care.

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8:44 AM Eastern - Monday, January 26, 2015

Healthcare Law Continues to Deliver #default

Happy New Year, Nurses.

As we said goodbye to 2014, I was proud to see the role of nurses highlighted in several stories on our nation's response to the threat of Ebola. Nurses were and are an integral part of our nation's public health preparedness and important leaders in helping to educate our communities about the facts on infectious disease and other critical health issues.

I am proud to see that again in the yearend Gallup poll the American people rated nurses highest on honesty and ethical standards. It says a lot about how hard we work and how much our patients and communities rely upon us as caregivers and advocates.

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4:30 PM Eastern - Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Nurses Know the Truth," Correct the Record on the 30-Hour Rule #default

Members of Congress are resuming their anti-factual attacks on the Affordable Care Act so the SEIU Nurse Alliance is resuming our "Nurses Know the Truth" blog posts. Nurse leaders nationwide will weigh in with evidence-based facts and offer our own front-line experiences, too.

First up: shedding light on the truth about the new rule that just went into effect Jan. 1 requiring employers to provide healthcare coverage to anyone who works at least 30 hours a week or else pay a penalty. Republicans trying to undo that provision are spreading three dangerous mistruths:

MISTRUTH No. 1: Obamacare's 30-hour rule is causing working people to have their hours cut.

FACT No. 1: The United States is not experiencing a new shift toward more part-time work at all; the opposite is true.

The trend of employers shifting more working people to part-time hours began long ago, spiking at the start of the Great Recession; it has been decreasing since the new healthcare law passed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Registered nurses and many other technical staff in hospital settings typically work three 12-hour shifts per week. Given the 24-7 needs of a hospital, a 36-hour workweek makes sense for both scheduling and patient care needs.

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4:10 PM Eastern - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Republican Leaders Push Failed Strategy of Enforcing our Way to an Immigration Solution #default

Republican leaders in the House continue to fail immigrant families and all Americans who desperately need Congress to pass real immigration reform.

On the heels of last week's House vote to deport immigrant children who have lived here all their lives and undo the progress we've made to fix the immigration system, Republican leaders and Homeland Security Committee Republican members are now moving a bill that would throw a lot more money at government contractors along the border without solving anything.

Republican leaders have spent months trying to block executive action that grows the economy, enhances security and keeps families together, and now they are advancing legislation - H.R. 399, The Secure Our Borders First Act - that wastes more money on the failed strategy of attempting to enforce our way to a solution.

This is not a plan to strengthen border security, but rather a reckless attempt to obstruct any meaningful discussion and debate about real, commonsense immigration reform.

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2:41 PM Eastern - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Minnesota Home Care Workers Raise Wages, Establish Paid Time Off with Historic First Contract #default

Twenty-seven thousand home care workers in Minnesota have reached an agreement on a first contract with the state.

The contract sets the wage floor at $11/hour (up from just $6.15/hour), provides funding for training, and gives workers protections against wage theft. 

Sumer Spika, a St. Paul home care worker and bargaining team member, highlighted the contract provision for five days of paid time off per year for full-time home care workers.

Minnesota Home Care Workers Raise Wages, Establish Paid Time Off with Historic First Contract

"My daughter was recently in the hospital for over three weeks with a respiratory illness, and with no paid time off, my family felt the stress that too many families have had to face,Spika said. "No one should have to choose between caring for their sick children and paying the bills."

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7:52 AM Eastern - Monday, January 19, 2015

On Dr. King Holiday: SEIU Members Mark a Dream Reinvigorated #default

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend is a time to celebrate the life and legacy of a great leader and of advances in civil rights, yet our country is in a place of incredible challenge, inequality, and injustice.

Civil rights issues are capturing public attention and activists' passion on this year's anniversary of Dr. King's legacy in a way they haven't in decades. And SEIU members are making sure the public gets the message that all our fights - racial justice, economic inequality, immigration - are connected.

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4:34 PM Eastern - Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Working People Demand "Fair Shot" at Raising Wages Summit #default

Working men and women, policymakers and elected officials lifted up a call for better pay at an economic conference sponsored by the AFL-CIO. Speakers at the National Summit on Raising Wages included fast-food worker Shantel Walker of New York.

Walker, who has worked for Papa John's off and on for more than a decade, said: "Everything we're going through as workers is hard. We have got to do more to ensure that there is justice in the workplace."

Walker is a strong leader in the Fight for $15. Last month, she told the BBC the momentum from wins that workers have achieved over the past two years will carry into 2015. Corporations "get richer and we get poorer and that's the bottom line," she said.

Today's gathering was aimed at ensuring "that people in America have a fair shot: to make our lives better, to make our communities better, to make our country better," Walker added. "Now is the time to stop poverty wages in America. Raise the wage!"

In a speech that drew numerous ovations, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) decried the growing gap between rich and poor. "All of the new money earned in this economy over the past generation--all that growth in the GDP--went to the top," Warren said. The AFL-CIO announced it will host similar summits during 2015 in the first four presidential primary states.

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3:00 PM Eastern - Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top @SEIU Tweets: Best of 2014 #default

Top SEIU tweets of 2014Over the course of the last 12 months, we sent more than 6,200 tweets, garnered over 90,000 retweets and gained 16,100 new Twitter followers. It was quite a year!

Here are the @SEIU tweets that received the highest number of retweets in 2014.

#1 Tweet

The top retweeted @SEIU tweet of 2014 was curated during September's history-making climate march.

#2 Tweet

The growing idea some retailers had to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day to allow employees to spend time with their family definitely resonated with our Twitter audience.

#3 Tweet

The Fight for $15 has truly become a movement.

And on May 15th of this year, this ever-growing movement went global for the first time, with nearly 100 protests taking place around the world to stand up for fair pay for fast food workers.

#4 Tweet

On June 30, the Supreme Court announced their decision in the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby case, siding with corporate interest over the health of working people. Depending on where you work, the court's ruling made it possible for your boss to make decisions about your healthcare based on his or her religious beliefs. Not surprisingly, Twitter exploded with outrage.

#5 Tweet

Just like fast food and home care workers who went on strike in May, September and December to demand $15 an hour, Walmart workers have been courageously standing up to challenge a system that keeps millions in poverty so a few massive corporations can make huge profits. On Black Friday, thousands of workers and advocates protested at hundreds of Walmarts across the country.

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