Mary Kay Henry, President, SEIU:
We are very encouraged that in just the first two months of the new healthcare law’s enrollment period, more than 1 million Americans are fully enrolled in more secure, lower-cost healthcare coverage that could transform their lives and their health — and that nearly 2 million more people are in the process of getting enrolled. SEIU nurses, doctors, librarians and child care providers have tallied 922,000 contacts with people in our communities in our first 10 weeks of outreach (as of Fri., Dec. 6). We will continue to partner with our local communities to let people know about their options for life-changing coverage and address any initial challenges they may have faced. The government’s new totals – nearly 3 million people nationwide well on the path to enrolling in health coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid – show that when we all work together the healthcare law is working and saving lives. However, in states where various forms of obstructionism and foot-dragging rule the day, hardworking Americans are still being left behind. It’s appropriate that we celebrate people who are gaining coverage through a marketplace plan and also people who newly qualify for Medicaid, as they are both integral parts of the new healthcare law. With most Americans strongly supporting the availability of Medicaid, it is shameful that extremist Republicans in many states are still refusing federal funds that would cover 5 million more Americans. Far-right Republicans are doing nothing but rooting for failure of the new healthcare law, even though that would mean taking health coverage away from the very people they are supposed to represent.