"Unfortunately, much of the discussion around healthcare in the President’s address to Congress last night was spent rehashing misleading attacks on the Affordable Care Act. The Act ended unfair discrimination by insurance companies, drove the rate of uninsured down to historic lows and spurred better care and more efficiency in the health care sector. Congress must build on this foundation, not tear it down.

"We were pleased to hear the President reject calls by the most extreme elements of his party to end support for healthcare tax credits altogether and that he supports lowering the cost of prescription drugs by using the buying power of the Federal government. The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU agree.

"However, the rest of the individual proposals outlined by the President don't guarantee that those who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be able to stay covered. Instead, they send us back to the days when a major illness meant the threat of bankruptcy.

"Those living with a pre-existing conditions need affordable coverage, not just access to insurance. We need minimum standards for health insurance nationally. Bare-bones policies will result in crippling costs for prescription drugs and other lifesaving treatments.

"We can do better. The federal government must keep its promise by providing a real plan for true affordable healthcare coverage and long term care services for all Americans."

-George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union in the nation.