SEIU: Hatch/Nelson Amendment Would Take Healthcare Away from Our Mothers, Sisters and Daughters

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 8, 2009.  Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger released the following statement calling on Senators to reject the amendment offered by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that restricts a woman’s access to healthcare.

Said Burger, “For too long, our healthcare system has left us in the lurch. Too many small businesses have buckled under the strain trying to do the right thing.  Too many families have had to make painful choices – visit a doctor, ignore an ache, pray the kids stay well.

“We have come together as a nation and said. ‘No More.’

“Over the last year, we have engaged in a sometimes raucous public conversation about what kind of country we want to be. As part of that national dialogue, we have discussed the critical need for health insurance reform.  To the credit of our elected leaders, we have taken on that challenge.

“However, as our Senators work to collaborate on a path forward, too many individuals are cynically eyeing this as an opportunity to play politics or to derail progress in the interest of their own personal agendas.

“The amendment offered by Senators Nelson and Hatch simply goes too far. It will severely restrict or cut healthcare services that women routinely receive and falls in the category of an unnecessary distraction at a time when we are called to do something more.

“At a time when 14,000 Americans are losing their health insurance each day and 17,000 Americans are forced into personal bankruptcy each week because of their medical debt, we should question why Senators Hatch and Nelson think millions of American mothers, sisters and daughters deserve less healthcare than they currently have.

“Senators Hatch and Nelson just sent a strong message of where they stand on women’s health, and it feels a lot like that is not by our side but on our backs.

“The Senate must think carefully before voting for this amendment. If the bill is passed with the Hatch/Nelson language, millions of women – working class women, those who work for small businesses or are self employed – could lose their already existing benefits or even be prevented from purchasing their own benefits.  This is fundamentally un-American, and this assault on the rights and health of women will not go unnoticed. Passage of the Stupak amendment in the House mobilized women like never before, and they will remember who played politics with their lives and who stood up for the health of all American women.

“We can and must do better.”