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Statement from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania on Ohio Moving to Expand Medicaid

(Harrisburg)  SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is urging Governor Tom Corbett to follow the lead of Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich who won a major victory today to expand Medicaid in that state under the Affordable Care Act.

“Even Ohio’s Republican governor understands the importance of expanding Medicaid,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and Secretary-Treasurer of the SEIU PA State Council. “Governor Corbett should follow the lead of Republicans across the country by recognizing the need to expand Medicaid by January 1.”

Hundreds of thousands of working families must not be left behind without coverage next year while the governor tinkers with a concept plan that has few details and an uncertain future. Any delay is too long for those struggling without access to a doctor.  The clock is ticking and it’s time for action.”

“As a nurse, my heart breaks when uninsured patients, who are also parents, have life threatening conditions,” said Michelle Boyle, a nurse at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and member of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “No one will hire them for a job with health benefits so they work 60 hours a week with three part-time jobs. Expanding Medicaid is the fastest and most cost-efficient path to quality health care for these patients and their children can breathe a sigh of relief knowing mom and dad can go see a doctor.

“Ohio prioritized the health of families, it’s time we did in Pennsylvania.  It’s time to end the suffering of 600,000 people and have healthier families.”

Mary Lou Camery, a professional home care attendant in Erie who would be eligible for Medicaid with expansion said, “For years I’ve worked to provide care to other people in need without earning enough to buy my own insurance.

“I’ve worked through bronchitis and other illnesses and my glasses are 15-years-old. If I lived in Ohio or our other neighboring states that are expanding Medicaid then I could finally see a doctor soon. Instead the governor’s choice means more waiting and coverage may still be unaffordable.”

Over the next few months healthcare workers and community members from all over the state will be urging the governor and the Legislature to “Finish the Job” by accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid that would increase access to care and bring financial stability to hospitals.

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SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of health care workers, representing 25,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.

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