SEIU Members:
Taking Action, Improving Lives

SEIU members fought for decades to ensure that everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Read more about how we are working together with healthcare allies, faith leaders and healthcare providers to see working families get the healthcare they need to live healthier lives.

3:22 PM Eastern - Thursday, July 17, 2014

SEIU Members Tweet to Take On #MedicaidBlockade

Nearly 6 million people across the country are still being denied health care by GOP governors and legislatures. A whopping 17,000 of these people are estimated to die from it.

With lives on the line, enough is enough!

Help stop the #MedicaidBlockade by using and sharing our new map tool. Click on a state to send a Twitter message to the GOP that denying millions healthcare is totally unacceptable.

Not on Twitter? Take action by sharing our graphic on Facebook

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1:52 PM Eastern - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Affordable Care Act comes through for Virginia man--twice

John WalshJohn Walsh is ineligible for health insurance through his employer--the Parks and Recreation Department in Herndon, Va.--because he works part time. Thanks to the earlier provisions of the Affordable Care Act, though, he was able to stay on his parent's health insurance plan for several years until he turned 26.

As his birthday approached, Walsh decided to improve his overall health by embarking on a new exercise regimen. He saw tremendous results. After several months, however, he began to have severe pain in his arm and shoulder making it increasingly hard to continue his new lifestyle.

To make matters worse, he turned 26 and lost his health insurance. When he looked at private plan options, Walsh saw he'd have to pay about $500/month--an amount he could not afford. "I started looking up my symptoms on the Web and convinced myself it was tendonitis. I was trying to figure out what I could do on my own to relieve the pain--which was getting worse. I could barely open a door or shake someone's hand without pain," he said.

5:31 PM Eastern - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SEIU RN Advocates for Patients and Medicaid Expansion at the White House Summit for Working Families

I was honored to represent SEIU and join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, policymakers, advocates, business leaders and ordinary citizens to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families at the Working Families Summit at the White House today. I emphasized how important healthcare policy--in particular the full implementation of the healthcare law, including the expansion of Medicaid--is to families.

As a nurse, I shared experiences from my 26 years in the profession. I have seen what a difference access to quality affordable healthcare makes and I know what a difference the Affordable Care Act makes in the lives of Pennsylvanians. While I am incredibly disappointed that our Governor and legislature did not accept the federal funds set aside to provide healthcare to hard-working families, I believe my frustration is shared by many--we are tired of people elected to represent us playing politics with our health.

At today's summit I also heard people discuss the challenges of feeling powerless in the workplace--dealing with no paid sick leave, lower take home pay or an inability to advocate for safer working conditions for fear of losing their job. This discussion reinforced for me how important it is to be a part of 85,000 nurses represented by SEIU. I know what a difference having an advocate who will fight for safe working conditions, fair compensation and continued professional development has made for my colleagues and me.

There is a lot of work to be done too many working Americans - both women and men - are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet and respond to the competing demands of work and family. For me the conversations today were a part of an important discussion that I will take back home and continue to have with leaders in my community.

1:32 PM Eastern - Monday, June 23, 2014

Changed Lives: Delivering on the Promise of the Affordable Care Act

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Today, millions of working women and men are waking up to a world where there is no need to put off a doctor visit or skip medications. No more worries about mounting medical bills or missing work and missing paychecks.

With each passing month, the reality is that the Affordable Care Act is changing the lives of ordinary Americans for the better.

Read our full report Changed Lives: Delivering on the Promise of the Affordable Care Act now.

When SEIU Connecticut home care worker Efia Joseph called on low-wage workers in her community to enroll in affordable healthcare, she found: "People are calling back and saying 'I love you! You changed my life!' "

A quick look at the numbers show how the Affordable Care Act has already created life-saving change:

  • 100 million Americans are benefiting from protections built into the healthcare law, meaning insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children and adults with pre-existing conditions or cut off coverage when people are in the middle of costly treatments.
  • 8 million people who were previously uninsured or underinsured signed up for health coverage through state and federal marketplaces. 4.3 million more signed up for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
  • SEIU members reached 2.5 million individuals through our education and outreach.

Kelley AlbrechtKelley Albrecht, who lives with her two sons and husband in Racine County, Wis., knows firsthand how the decisions of lawmakers have a direct impact on people's health. When it came time to implement President Obama's new healthcare law, delays by her state's governor made it difficult for thousands of Wisconsinites to get access to the medical care they were counting on receiving.

Albrecht and her family have been dealing with uncovered medical expenses for several years. At one point, one of her sons became seriously ill and had to be hospitalized--which ended up hitting the family's finances hard. "It was a relatively short visit, but the hospital charged us over $1,500," Albrecht said. "The bill included $76 for two Tylenol."

They've also had to leave lingering health problems untreated "My husband has severe sleep apnea, but we were lucky to have a friend give us an extra breathing device so he can sleep at night," she said. "I also was hit by a driver running a red light at 65 miles an hour, and it's left me with severe fibromyalgia--which I can't afford to get treated.

"It's terrible not being able to sit on the floor and play with my kids," she said. "And if I were able to get treatment, I would be able to get a job."

Fred ChristianFred Christian, a 44-year-old man from Florida, needs medical care to deal with his current health issues. He's been hospitalized for breathing-related issues seven times over the last 13 years, has been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder, and has been told by an optometrist that he needs further tests on his eyes to see whether he has an eye condition called Dyspraxia.

But since he takes care of his disabled father at home full time, his limited income makes him unable to afford the specialists he needs. If Christian lived in Kentucky, Arkansas, California, Arizona or any of the dozens of states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, he would be able to take care of his health. However, he is one of millions of Americans being denied healthcare simply because their elected leaders have blocked federal funds from expanding Medicaid in their state. Florida politicians have caved to pressure from tea party activists, leaving people like Christian out in the cold.

10:21 AM Eastern - Thursday, April 24, 2014

Healthcare Law's Focus on Prevention Leads to Healthier Lives

I work in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo and the benefits and protections in the Affordable Care Act have been life changing for many of my patients. I am coming to Washington, DC to add my voice to thousands of others as the healthcare law is again under attack. I am an advocate for my colleagues, community and patients.

In the NICU, I provide care to critically ill infants and their mothers. Many of the infants in the NICU are born to mothers who had not intended to get pregnant or did not know they were pregnant and who did not get any pre-natal counseling or care. The new healthcare law ensures that these babies and their mothers will get the care they need and that they will not be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, have arbitrary caps placed on their care and will not be dropped by their insurance companies. These families are going through a major life change and thanks to the healthcare law insurance coverage is something they do not have to worry about.

LisaMarie.jpgLisa May lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son, with another child due this summer. When her husband started his own business last year, May and her family switched to the health insurance plan from her employer.

Everything was fine until the Mays found out the providers she had been using for her prenatal care were no longer going to be considered in-network with the new plan. "I either needed to switch doctors and hospitals so my labor and delivery would be covered, or pay for those items out-of-network--which would have cost us a considerable amount of money," said May.

Christiane DeNobleChristiane DeNoble is a member of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare from Coral Springs, Florida. She recently traveled to Washington DC with her fellow nurses to defend the Affordable Care Act at a rally in front of the Supreme Court on the day the Court heard the landmark Hobby Lobby case. Christiane was there to protect the rights of women to have birth control covered by their employer-provided health insurance - regardless of their specific employers' religious beliefs regarding birth control.

Christiane argued that denying women contraceptive coverage on their employer plans could have very serious consequences. "For many women, having to pay up to $80 per month would be a real burden. They simply don't have the income," she said. "I've seen women in my hospital who had children because they couldn't afford birth control. Some of them end up not getting any sort of prenatal care, and because of that their children end up on my [neonatal intensive care] unit for several months- which can easily cost over a million dollars."

She believes that the case before the Supreme Court is especially important, since weakening the Affordable Care Act in this way could set a bad precedent. "What if an employer didn't believe in blood transfusions because of their religion? They are huge ramifications to this," she said.

Christiane is also active in spreading the word about the new health care law in general. "I try and tell the parents of the children I care for about all the free preventive care that's included in the various plans," she said. "It's important that people in my profession help connect people to affordable care through the new law, because people trust nurses."

3:44 PM Eastern - Thursday, April 10, 2014

"They were almost in tears when they found out they could get [health] insurance"

Colleen NoceriniColleen Nocerini is a school cook in West St. Paul, Minn., and a member of SEIU Local 284. Although she has health insurance, Nocerini and her fellow union members spent last fall and winter trying to help enroll as many Minnesotans as possible in healthcare plans created by the Affordable Care Act.

Nocerini worked numerous phonebanks and knocked on thousands of doors to try to connect the uninsured with the right people who could help them get coverage. She also worked several events--one featured Spanish, Hmong and Somali translators--where Local 284 partnered with Take Action Minnesota to assist low-income residents with getting the insurance they needed.

"We helped some people who had previously spent every penny they had paying off enormous hospital debts," said Nocerini. "They were almost in tears when they found out they could get insurance that would prevent that from ever happening to them again."

Even though most of them already had health insurance, SEIU members in locals across the country have supported efforts to make healthcare more affordable in this country from the very beginning.

"When I heard about these efforts, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it," said Nocerini. "It's a chance to show that my union is interested in lifting everyone up, not just ourselves. It's really important for us to be out there doing community outreach like this."

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