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SEIU Endorses AB 8, 'An Opportunity to Make History'

Statement of Sal Rosselli, President, SEIU-UHW and SEIU California State


SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- My name is Sal Rosselli, and I'm the President of SEIU United Healthcare Workers - West and the SEIU California State Council, representing 650,000 workers in healthcare, the public sector, property services, and other industries throughout the state.

SEIU is the largest healthcare union in California, representing more than 250,000 healthcare workers and their families. Our members are hands-on caregivers who see people every day living sicker and dying younger because they can't afford health coverage. And far too many of our members, like millions of other Californians, do not have affordable, quality healthcare for themselves and their families.

To address the growing healthcare crisis, this year an unprecedented coalition of unions and consumer advocates, in constructive dialogue with other stakeholders, has come together and launched a full-fledged movement to achieve affordable, quality healthcare for all. As a result, thousands of ordinary people from every corner of our state have told their personal stories and made healthcare reform a priority that can't be ignored. They have told our elected officials loudly and clearly that we can't afford to wait any longer and that we need reform now -- and the leaders of the Assembly and Senate have listened.

Today, with Speaker Nunez' and President Pro Tem Perata's leadership, we have the opportunity to make history. We call upon our legislators to pass and the Governor to sign AB 8, a bill that would make dramatic breakthroughs in expanding access to health coverage and in making that coverage more affordable.

AB 8 would expand healthcare access to at least 70% of uninsured Californians -- more than 3 million people -- making it the most dramatic state healthcare reform in a generation and putting national healthcare reform front and center on the agenda for the next President and Congress.

AB 8 would help make coverage more affordable by ensuring that no worker will be required to accept health coverage if it costs more than 5% of wages, by containing costs for the entire healthcare system through innovative purchasing of prescription drugs and insurance, and by creating a more efficient insurance option through the creation of a statewide purchasing pool.

AB 8 also guarantees workers that their employers will make no less than a minimum level of expenditures on their healthcare, a guarantee similar to the minimum wage that will place a floor beneath California's working families and help restore the basic social contract holding that employers should pay their fair share for workers' healthcare coverage.

We thank you, Speaker Nunez and President Pro Tem Perata, for your leadership, and we look forward to working with Governor Schwarzenegger to make history and give the people of California the real healthcare reform we so urgently need.

SOURCE SEIU California State Council
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