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SEIU's Andy Stern Renews Call to Fix Nation's Broken Health Care System, Ease Financial Strain on Working Families, Economy

Top leader of nation's largest union of health care workers highlights connection between economic and health care crises at Senate Finance Committee hearing

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pointing to the combined impact of the health care and economic crises on the lives of working families nationwide, SEIU International President Andy Stern called on President-Elect Barack Obama and key leaders in Washington today to work together to address the nation's ailing health care system in the short-term.

"Working people in this country are living in fear. Fear of losing their jobs and their health care. Fear of being just one illness away from financial ruin," said Stern in his testimony today before the Senate Committee on Finance led by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). "If we're going to revive our economy -- if we're going to restore a sense of economic security to ordinary American families -- we have to fix health care."

Today's hearing entitled "Health Care Reform: An Economic Perspective" is the latest in a series of hearings on health care reform held by the Senate Committee on Finance. Stern's appearance before the Committee comes as urgency continues to build to address a health care crisis typified by skyrocketing costs, rising numbers of uninsured and underinsured individuals, and a general trend toward decreased quality of care and coverage:

  • Post-election polling by Lake Research Partners showed voters ranking health care among their top overall issues -- and health care costs as their number one economic concern.
  • Meanwhile, a new analysis by the New America Foundation entitled "The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why the Cost of Failing to Fix Our Health System is Greater than the Cost of Reform" shows average rising health care premiums outpacing wage increases and a trend that will result in "Americans will continue to pay more for less-generous health coverage; and fewer employers will offer health insurance to their workers."

With 2 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest health care union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.

SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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