Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 22, 2010. Statement by SEIU President Stern regarding passage of health care reform legislation.
Six years ago, 20,000 SEIU nurses, doctors, patients and advocates marched across the Golden Gate Bridge calling for fundamental reform to our national healthcare system. Today, that long march ended with an historic victory. We said a great nation can no longer accept a failed system that left too many out in the cold, too many bankrupt, too many dead.
For all those who marched. For all those who refused to accept that the status quo was the best we could do. For all those who said “yes we can” even when the opposition threw everything it had in our way: It is a new day.
For the child survivor of leukemia denied health insurance because of his “pre-existing condition.” For parents worried about affording health insurance for their job-seeking college graduate. For the working families and small businesses who watched heath insurance premiums priced out of their reach: This day could not get here soon enough.
It is a new day for Pat DeJong.
Pat and her husband Dan were ranchers in Montana. After Dan’s struggle with lymphoma the medical bills piled up. They were left with no choice but to sell their family’s ranch. Pat has spent the past year to make sure that no other American family loses their home at the expense of their medical bills. Tonight Dan is no longer with us, but tonight Pat knows that their loss helped reform a nation.
It is a new day for Georgeanne Kohler, who lost her brother. For Paula Hall who lost her savings. For Athena Jones and all the hardworking women and men around this country whose courage and conviction that we can and must do better have brought us here tonight.
Fundamental change is rare and, as we have all witnessed, hard work. Thanks to President Obama’s unwavering conviction that our nation deserved better, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid’s belief that working Americans deserve the same standard of care we would give our members of Congress – tonight we have ushered in this new day.
The insurance industry thought Congress would answer to them. But today, Congress stood up for the people.
Six years ago, the members of this union vowed to change history. Tonight, we did.
With 2.2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers — not just corporations and CEOs — benefit from today’s global economy.