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.

4:00 PM Eastern - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Through tax credits, I'm taking charge of my health and my family's future

Claudette Newsome, 42, is an independent contractor from Houston, managing various recruiting, production, marketing and sales projects for her clients. She works as a volunteer with the Texas Organizing Project.

I have suffered great loss in the last five years. Days after my husband turned 46, he died of cancer. Then, two years later, I lost my 17-year-old son when he was tragically hit by a car. While there have been days when my pain was so unbearable that I did not want to move, I knew eventually I would have to get on with my life.

Through tax credits, I'm taking charge of my health and my family's futureMy daughters, ages 10 and 14, had lost the two most important men in their lives so I knew I had to take care of myself for their sake. They needed their mom and the comfort that family provides. If something happened to me, who was going to take care of them? Who was going to love them, take them to school, and understand the tragedies they have already faced in their lives?

Surprisingly, what became important to me was the security of affordable health insurance coverage. I knew I had to take good care of myself--not just for my own health but for my daughters. They need a healthy parent that will always be present in their lives. 


Deborah McBee.JPGDeborah McBee, 63, is a retired educator who lives in New Hampshire with her husband, Burrett. She is part of a dozen people who submitted briefs in the King v. Burwell case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Her husband is a teaching lecturer at Plymouth State University and a member of SEIU Local 1984, New Hampshire State Employees Association.

My husband, Burrett, and I have both been educators our entire careers. Anyone who pursues education as a career knows it's not about the pay or the benefits; it's about dedicating yourself to opening up new worlds for students. While we love our work, there have been personal sacrifices we have made, among them, our struggle to keep up with rising costs of healthcare insurance coverage.

For years we got our health insurance through our jobs. While we would complain about high co-pays, we didn't think twice about going to the doctor when we got sick. Then when we changed jobs, we lost our insurance coverage. During that time, I needed to have a CT scan and was shocked when I saw the bill for more than $1,400. For the first time, I really understood how outrageous healthcare costs are in the United States.

12:43 PM Eastern - Monday, February 23, 2015

We can't go back

When I heard the uplifting news that approximately 11.4 million Americans signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, it was kind of bittersweet. On the one hand, families like mine are finally getting the comprehensive care we need. Unfortunately, this relief has been followed by endless partisan political attacks to challenge the law.

  • Congressional Republicans are still trying to repeal the law; the count is now up to 56 votes.
  • Governors and state legislatures are still standing in the way of expanding Medicaid for those who fall in the gaps of coverage.
  • And on March 4, the Supreme Court is hearing a case, King v. Burwell, which could be the biggest threat to law yet.

Currently, women and men making up to $46,680 and families of four earning up to $95,400 in all 50 states are eligible to receive federal tax credits to help us afford health insurance. If the Supreme Court rules the wrong way, tax credits could be restricted to only those living in the 16 states that have created their own health insurance exchanges.

This would make health insurance completely out-of-reach for more than 8 million Americans.

And I could be one of them.

10:59 AM Eastern - Thursday, February 19, 2015

King v. Burwell: Without tax credits I would pay almost 10 times more for insurance

Michele EvansMichele Evans is a small business owner in Bozeman, Mont. She has been an advocate for affordable healthcare in Montana and joined 11 other hardworking Americans asking the U.S. Supreme Court to keep tax credits to help working families maintain their healthcare coverage.

The past few months have been an emotional roller coaster for my husband and me. We run two small businesses and before the Affordable Care Act was passed we had been uninsured for several years. It was scary not having insurance. I was constantly worried that something as simple as a slip and fall could send our family into bankruptcy.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease that became so debilitating at one point I could not feed myself. My husband had to put our solar/wind energy business on hold to care for me, leaving our family without income. We were forced to spend our entire savings to pay for expensive out-of-pocket treatments over the four years I suffered with the disease.

I was excited when we finally made enough to qualify for an $850 per month tax credit through the law so we could purchase our own healthcare coverage. While I no longer suffer from Lyme disease, my husband and I are both in our 50s and we know all too well how quickly health issues can arise. Now, because our monthly premiums are affordable, only $87 per month, we have the peace of mind of having access to regular checkups and routine health screenings without having to pay out-of-pocket.

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.

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