Coalition to Launch Actions to Protect Medicare and Medi-Cal Funding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wed., Nov. 9, 2011
Contact: Roshin Mathew, (213) 309-0314, SEIU-UHW
Contact: Sharon Greengold, (213) 265-6618, St. Vincent Medical Center/Daughters of Charity Health System
Los Angeles, CA— U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) today joined a coalition of concerned healthcare workers from SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) and frontline community health providers in urging Congress to protect Medicaid (Medi-Cal) and Medicare funding and programs that keep California families, seniors and children healthy.
Congress is currently considering whether to cut an additional $500 billion or more from Medicaid and Medicare, with a vote pending later this month.
“I oppose denying people the basic human right to healthcare, yet Republicans in Congress propose that we cut benefits for millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children who need lifesaving care. Eliminating essential care to our nation’s most vulnerable populations would not only jeopardize the health of our country, but also potentially millions of jobs that we cannot afford to lose at this crucial time,” said Rep. Bass.
Today’s event kicked off a series of actions statewide in which SEIU-UHW healthcare members are joining hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses, patients and advocates to protect Medicare and Medi-Cal. Other events will take place on Nov. 10 in San Francisco, Nov. 11 again in Los Angeles and Nov. 14 in Bakersfield. Actions will continue in California and nationally as Congress considers action.
“We see seniors and adults who are living on the margin with no insurance other than Medicare and Medi-Cal. Cutting these programs denies healthcare to our community’s most vulnerable. It would be devastating to patients who have nowhere else to go,” said Joycelyn Witts, a respiratory therapist and SEIU-UHW member at St. Vincent Medical Center, a member of the Daughters of Charity Health System.
“These proposed cuts will dramatically reduce access to care. A key principle of health reform is to invest in preventing illness – cutting these services will negatively affect the health of the American people and increase costs,” said Jim Mangia, President/CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center.
Cathy Fickes, President/CEO of Daughters of Charity’s St. Vincent Medical Center said,
“Almost 25% of the families we care for at St. Vincent are living below the federal poverty line. Any further cuts to these programs would have a devastating impact on their ability to access care and further erode the health of the surrounding community.”
With record numbers of Americans unemployed or underemployed, more Americans are relying on Medicaid for their healthcare. More than one out of every seven Americans receives healthcare through Medicaid and tens of thousands of Californians with serious healthcare needs rely on Medi-Cal.
The healthcare sector is generating more jobs than any other sector of the economy. Every $1 million in federal Medicaid spending results in 17.1 new jobs. Cutting federal spending on Medicaid would mean cutting healthcare jobs.
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco * Thurs., Nov. 10 at 1 PM
California Hospital Medical Center, Los Angeles * Fri., Nov. 11 at 10 AM
Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Bakersfield * Mon., Nov. 14 at 10 AM
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest-growing union. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.