One year ago, we voted for change. When we elected Barack Obama president, we said, “Yes we can” and voted for affordable health care for all.
The health insurance companies tried to scare the American public when they released a study earlier this week claiming that costs will rise 11 percent each year under health care reform. But this is already the reality. In my work as an 1199SEIU official representing nursing home workers, I hear from employers that insurance is going up between 10 to 12 percent each year. Our members, many of whom work two jobs to make ends meet, are struggling under the burden of ever rising health care costs. Even if they are among the lucky who have a reasonably priced plan, ever-rising co-pays and deductibles weigh them down.
Every day, our members make choices regarding health care. Should they fill costly prescriptions or pay the fuel bill? Can they put off a needed medical procedure because they cannot afford the deductible? A family with ongoing chronic health problems can easily run up medical bills of a couple of thousand dollars on top of premiums which can be as large as 25 percent of a worker’s paycheck for family coverage. America’s service workers who now comprise the backbone of our economy cannot afford insurance at today’s rates and will find their paychecks get smaller and smaller as they bear the burden of rising costs.
Now is the time for Congress to act and pass health care reform that is affordable for everyone!