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Missouri Families Demand Representative Blunt to Stop Playing Politics With Healthcare Reform

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Service Employees International Union members and their families, members of the community and concerned citizens gathered in front of Congressman Roy Blunt's office to demand why he continues to put politics before Missouri families.

Average family premiums in Missouri have risen 76.1 percent over the last nine years, 4.4 times faster than wages. Meanwhile, insurance companies, whose record profits have risen 428 percent over the same time period, have counted on Representative Blunt as a reliable ally to block needed reforms. Missouri families will gather in front of his office to demand to know why.

"I cannot understand why congressman Blunt isn't talking about real heath care reform. I take part in my government agency's health insurance committee and we have to make choices every year about either increasing the premium rates or cutting benefit levels. This year, we had no choice but to do both just to maintain coverage for our employees," said public employee Chris Miller.

"If we don't move to control costs, premiums will almost double in the next ten years. I can't afford the near $22,000 it will cost to cover my family -- most people can't. Health insurance reform must guarantee every American can afford quality care."

Health insurance companies, with Rep. Blunt as a major ally, have waged a costly campaign against health care reform. In part, the resistance is due to a fear that health care reform will limit industry profits by interjecting more competition into the market place.

In Missouri, just two insurance providers controlled more than 2/3 of the entire health care market in 2008, providing little room for competition. Rep. Blunt is not only leading the current opposition to health care reform in Congress, but he has a long record opposing more affordable healthcare for veterans, seniors and children.

  • Blunt is so extreme on healthcare that he believes it would be better if Medicare and Medicaid never existed. In a July interview, Blunt said, "you could certainly argue that government should have never gotten into the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace. Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace." [The Eagle 93.9, 7/9/09]
  • Blunt even voted at least six times to not expand children's health insurance. From 2007 through 2009, Blunt voted at least six times against bipartisan legislation to expand children's health care to millions of kids nationwide. [Vote 50, 2/4/09; Vote 16, 1/14/09; Vote 22, 1/23/08; Vote 1009, 10/25/07; Vote 982, 10/18/07; Vote 787, 8/1/07; Washington Post, 1/30/09]

With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers -- not just corporations and CEOs -- benefit from today's global economy.

SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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