SEIU Members Speak Out to Save the Affordable Care Act
On June 14, SEIU filed a friend of the court (amicus) brief in defense of the Affordable Care Act in Texas vs. United States. A group of 20 Republican Attorneys General, led by Texas, is seeking a preliminary injunction to overturn the ACA. Last week, the Trump Department of Justice announced that it will not defend the attack. Our brief is in support of a group of Attorneys General, led by California AG Xavier Becerra, who intervened to defend the ACA.
The SEIU brief tells the stories of members who have seen the tremendous benefits of the ACA in their jobs as healthcare workers and/or as healthcare consumers. They shared their fears of what could happen if the law is overturned and insurance companies are allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions, women and seniors more for their coverage.
Michelle Boyle, a registered nurse a, believes that the ACA reflects American values. She fears that overturning it will allow insurers to reinstate practices that interfere with the provision of quality health care and lead to inhumane results. She says, “the America that I was brought up to believe in is a place where you look out for each other. That’s what makes America strong. By taking away people’s access to health care, we are weaker as a nation.”
Sasha Cutler, who works at San Francisco General Hospital, considers the provision that prohibits discrimination or exclusions from insurance coverage on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability to be crucial. During his 33 years as a registered nurse, Sasha has observed that when people are fearful of how they will be treated, they feel uncomfortable seeking care or sharing information with their health care providers. That reluctance means providers often do not have the information necessary to make sound treatment decisions, and patients are at risk of receiving inadequate care.
The ACA has improved patient care in ways beyond the extension of insurance coverage, and those quality-of-care benefits will be lost as well if the statute is struck down.