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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Karen Louise Boothe
MN GOP Legislators Dismantling Affordable Health Care Access
At the same time, 1 in 3 Americans struggling with medical bills
St. Paul, MN— The next ten days are critically important for the national health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. March 23 marks the second-year anniversary of the law’s passage, and on March 26 to 28 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in cases challenging the law.
Minnesota GOP legislators are continuing to publicly discredit the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, while 1 in 3 still lack access to affordable health care or struggle to pay the bills they have, Republicans are quietly moving forward several key pieces of legislation that would dismantle Minnesotans’ access to affordable health care.
These bills, as a whole, would create a health care framework that:
Lacks any consumer representation on decision-making bodies;
Funnels huge public and private resources into private health industry brokers, with almost no oversight or transparency of the use of those funds;
Puts the Health Exchange into the hands of the private market health insurance industry;
Would benefit corporations and insurance companies rather than consumers.
“SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members played a critical role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act and now, two years later, we’re celebrating that Americans of all ages and backgrounds now have greater access to affordable health coverage,” said SEIU HCMN President Julie K. Schnell. “Today, tens of thousands of healthcare jobs in Minnesota have been saved, or created, young adults can stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, seniors are receiving discounts on prescriptions, and insurance companies can’t deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions.”
“As a healthcare worker, and working in admissions, I used to see so many people, many of them children using urgent care as their primary care because they can’t afford anything else,” said Mindy Tomfohrde, SEIU HCMN Executive Board member who works in Admissions at Olmsted Medical Center.
“Like all of us, they’re working harder every day to make ends meet. Either they made too much to qualify for Medicaid or the place they worked doesn’t offer insurance, or there’s insurance but they can’t afford to pay the premiums. It’s scary seeing all those kids using Urgent Care as their primary care because that’s all they can afford. That is why I fought so hard to make sure Congress passed the Affordable Care Act that allowed Minnesota to get Federal funds to cover more people in our state Medicaid program.”
2011 Minnesota Statistics
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/CDC:
· Number of Minnesotans with Medicare who saved money on prescription drugs thanks to health care reform: 57, 610. Savings: $33,963,871
· Number of Minnesotans with Medicare that Received Preventative Services thanks to health care reform: 424,007
· Number of Minnesotans who now no longer have a lifetime limit on their health care insurance due to reforms: 3,547,000
· Number of Minnesota young adults (to age 26) have gained health care insurance under their parents’ plans: 32,189
· How many Minnesotans gained coverage in 2011 under the pre-existing coverage protection under the new reform? 789
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Karen Louise Boothe
March, 21 2012 Communications Director
SEIU MN State Council
Women and Minorities Disproportionately Affected by Lowered Wages and Job Losses in so-called, “Right to Work” States.
St. Paul, MN— Equal rights and equal pay for women doesn’t exist in Right-to-Work Sates. Research by the Washington DC-based nonpartisan think tank, Economic Policy Institute shows a gender gap in which women’s wages are penalized further than the wage of an “average” worker. The same holds true nonwhites.
“Basically, what it means is that money is taken from the pockets of women and people of color to an even greater extent,” says Javier Morillo-Alicea, president of SEIU Minnesota Local 26. “Additionally, the public sector is the single most important source of employment for African-Americans (21% employed in this sector according to 2010 statistics) than others,” he adds.
“Women also bear the brunt of the negative effects of Right to Work Laws for the same reason—a majority of public sector jobs are held by women, especially in the fields of health care and education,” adds Carol Nieters, executive director of SEIU Minnesota Local 284. In fact, 71% of Local 284’s members are female.
According to the Economic Policy Institute:
· Women’s wages are penalized further (4.4%) in RTW states than men’s (1.7%).
· The wage penalty exists across all categories of educational attainment and racial/ethnic groups; however, it is higher among nonwhites, with the RTW penalty being 4.8% for blacks and 4.4% for Hispanics.
· Latino union members earn, on average, $45 dollars more each week than nonunion Latinos, while unionized African Americans earn 30% more each week, on average, than those not in a union.
· Women in labor unions earn $149 each week more than their nonunion counterparts.
· “Right-to-work” laws undo the major gains unions have made in closing the gap between men’s and women’s pay. While the overall gender gap is 32% it is only 5% among men and women who are in a union.