9:48 AM Eastern - Friday, February 13, 2015

Nurses Take Action to Protect Healthcare Law #default

This year is off to a busy start. We are on the front lines educating colleagues and patients about the healthcare law and providing information about Open Enrollment, which ends Feb. 15.

SEIU nurses are also sharing lessons learned to protect the health and safety of their communities. They are taking action to defend the healthcare law in Washington, D.C., against the latest attacks in Congress and preparing for the next Supreme Court fight.

In this issue, we have some great information to highlight including:

  • Sharyce Greene, RN, of SEIU Healthcare PA shares how we can apply lessons learned from the Ebola crisis to other infectious diseases such as measles and influenza;

  • Chris Barton, RN, of 1199NW gives us the facts as Congress considers making it easier for employers to not provide healthcare to employees; and

  • As the March 4 Supreme Court hearing for King vs. Burwell approaches, we learn more about the implications of this case.

In Solidarity,

Dian Palmer, RN

Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
1:45 PM Eastern - Thursday, February 12, 2015

Don't let King v. Burwell turn back the clock on our healthcare #default

Don't let <em>King v. Burwell</em> turn back the clock on our healthcareBeing a healthcare worker who assists the elderly and the developmentally disabled can be a physically demanding job. For years, I suffered through a lot of pain because I couldn't get the hip surgery I needed since I didn't have health insurance. Simply walking up and down the stairs in private and group homes where I work would cause me great discomfort. So in late 2013 when I found out that tax credits in the Affordable Care Act would allow me to buy health insurance for $254 per month, I enrolled right away and scheduled a time to have my long-overdue hip surgery. Now that the recovery from surgery is over, I'm able to work pain-free, do my jobs better, and exercise to become a healthier person. All of this was possible because of the financial assistance provided under the new law.

Now there are those who wish to take these tax credits away.

When I heard about the upcoming King vs. Burwell U.S. Supreme Court case that could eliminate subsidies for people in approximately 36 different states (including my home state of Oregon) I knew I had to speak up. Do we really want to go back to the time when tens of millions of working Americans couldn't afford any health insurance whatsoever? When people had to rely on emergency rooms when their preventable health issues got so bad they had nowhere else to turn--costing hospitals and taxpayers enormous amounts of money when they couldn't pay? The tax credits have led to plans that finally fit within the budgets of hardworking Americans like myself, and now this case could eliminate all hope of us ever getting affordable care.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
5:21 PM Eastern - Friday, February 6, 2015

Let's fix the healthcare we have #default

Michelle BoyleMichelle Boyle, 44, is a registered nurse in Allegheny General Hospital's trauma center. She is a member of SEIU HCPA in Pittsburgh, a wife and mother.

Hannah Jewel Brown, my mother-in-law, worked hard so her son could do better than she did. It's every parent's wish. She raised her son with the values of giving to your family, your community and your country. I was lucky enough to marry him. 

Sixteen years ago, pre-Affordable Care Act, Hannah lost her job and her healthcare. In 1999, a year and a half after her son and I married, we attended Hannah's funeral. She died of treatable chronic conditions at 58. She did not live long enough to play with her grandchildren. My daughters, 8 and 11 years old, hold a picture of their grandmother instead of being able to hold her hand.

Sadly, I knew my family was not alone in their heartbreak. There were families like mine all across the country who suffered the loss of a loved one who had died from an illness that could have been treated if they caught it early. Before the Affordable Care Act passed, as a nurse I saw patients and families who had finally come in to receive care. As they dealt with their illness, they were praying at the bedside wondering if this was the time they may lose their house to medical bills. Equally heartbreaking were the couples. I saw one couple advocating for the other: either she continued to receive the necessary medications to keep the transplanted kidney she was gifted or he would receive chemotherapy for his newly diagnosed cancer. Ultimately, she gave up her kidney transplant so her husband could receive treatment. She is now on dialysis three times a week.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.

<em>King v. Burwell</em>: India for healthcare? Not a good plan for my family or any of my fellow TexansJay Joshi, a 60-year-old retired travel agent, receives a tax credit for her family's healthcare coverage. An immigrant from India , she came to the United States 35 years ago and is a now a U.S. citizen. She lives in Richardson, Texas, and has been an active member of the Texas Organizing Project in Irving since 2013.

For decades, I have worried about my husband's illness. He was diagnosed with diabetes more than 20 years ago and because of his pre-existing condition he was denied affordable health insurance by insurance company after insurance company. I often felt guilty because I was the only one in the family covered through my plan at work as a travel agent, but I couldn't afford coverage for my sons, now 20 and 23 years old. There was a constant strain on our family's well-being knowing that at any moment my husband could become seriously ill or we could be one random accident away from bankruptcy. We had no choice but to use our family visits to India to see a doctor there and get the healthcare he needed.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
11:11 AM Eastern - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Black History Month: Celebrating African-Americans in the Labor Movement #default

Throughout the years, SEIU and its membership has been at the forefront of fighting for economic and social justice for all working people. This Black History Month timeline takes a look at the leaders, members and other African-American activists who have contributed to the rich fabric of the labor movement.

1920s and earlier

PHOTO: A 1920 yearbook photograph of Seymour Miller, Executive Board Member of Chicago Flat Janitors Local 1.

The Chicago Flat Janitors, which eventually became BSEIU (and then SEIU) Local 1, was made up of both white and black members. An integrated membership put the union years ahead of its contemporaries in terms of accepting diversity. Pushing then boundaries, the leadership of the Chicago Flat Janitors included three African Americans: Steward E. Grigsby, Trustee Robert Ford, and Union Vice President Seymour Miller (pictured).

For more information on SEIU's founding, see the:

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
9:53 AM Eastern - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A prayer for good health not a suitable health plan #default

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.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
9:37 AM Eastern - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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

Marilyn Ralat AlbernasAs 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.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
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.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
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.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.
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.

Spread the word

Share this story on Twitter.

There's more on the SEIU Blog...