Taking Back the House

February 16, 2024

Taking Back the House 1 1199.jan.feb.2024.final.jpgThe national political showdown in November may still be many months away, but 1199 Weekend Warriors have already begun pounding the pavement to make sure voters understand why we need to elect representatives who will fight for working people in Washington, D.C.

As this edition went to press, Tom Suozzi was fighting to replace the disgraced former U.S. Congressman George Santos in the Long Island district he vacated in a special election on Feb 13.

The Union endorsed Suozzi in this bellwether race because he has proven himself to be a reliable ally over many decades on the issues that matter to working people.

1199 Home Care Delegate Lavern Barnett works at the All Metro agency and Rockville Skilled Nursing and Rehab on Long Island.

“We want someone who is honest and for the people to represent us,” she says. “Suozzi has already showed the support we need on issues like preserving Medicaid. Everyone is deserving of quality care and emotional support regardless of their financial circumstances. But we know that people who rely on Medicaid for their care are often short-changed and given fewer hours than they need.”

With extremist Republicans in Congress threatening deep cuts in funding for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, the importance of flipping the House of Representatives back to Democratic control is clear. A Union of healthcare workers cannot allow anti-labor or anti-healthcare agendas to take hold. With several key districts in New York in play, the path to restoring Democrats to power runs right through 1199SEIU’s stronghold.

Voting matters. We are in a crucial fight to protect our values and freedoms and to elect those who have a strong record of advocating for healthcare and supporting the labor movement.

When Democrats gained the majority in the House and Senate in 2021, they enacted dramatic reductions in insulin prices to just $35 per month for Medicare recipients, won the right for Medicare to force drug companies to lower their prices and slashed the cost of insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. As a result of the latter, over 21.8 million Americans—a record high—were able to get affordable health insurance through the ACA.

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“With the Republicans in Congress trying to abolish Medicare and Medicaid, we need representatives to fight for these programs that many of our hospitals are dependent upon to stay afloat. I work in the billing department, and I see firsthand the difference between payments from commercial insurers versus Medicare and Medicaid.

For instance, an ER visit is likely to be reimbursed at $1,600 by a commercial plan compared with just $300 from Medicaid,” said Jeera Grissett, an 1199 Delegate and Senior Account Clerk at Jamaica Hospital in Queens.

“As you get older you begin to see how decisions that are made today can affect you tomorrow. It is important that we have the right people in office to make sure that we don’t lose the Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid that so many working people rely upon. We certainly don’t need another George Santos in this district,” she added.