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Massachusetts’ largest and fastest growing healthcare union highlights importance of funding for community hospitals, workforce training and reforms to stabilize long-term care system

Boston, MA (October 17, 2017) – Tyrék D. Lee, Sr., Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, issued the following statement in response to the Massachusetts state Senate’s proposed healthcare legislation:

“This is a critical time for healthcare in Massachusetts and across the nation. As the shameful assault on the Affordable Care Act continues, we, the healthcare workers of 1199SEIU, understand the need to strengthen our healthcare delivery system and address the rising cost of delivering care. We strongly believe that reforming our healthcare delivery system is not as simple as reducing benefits or shifting MassHealth populations. To be successful at decreasing costs and protecting quality care, we must pursue a holistic approach that includes strategies to ensure the viability of community hospitals, increase alternative payment models and advance the creation of accountable care organizations without excessively burdening consumers or the healthcare workforce.

Today, the Senate took an important first step to achieve these goals by releasing a comprehensive bill for further debate. We commend Senate President Rosenberg and his team for taking the time necessary to hear from all stakeholders as they drafted this bill, and we look forward to reviewing and discussing it with our members.

We hope that any final legislation includes fair funding for our community and safety net hospitals to ensure these essential providers can continue to thrive, as well as workforce training opportunities to prepare healthcare workers for the industry’s jobs of the future. In addition, we urge the Legislature to consider commonsense reforms to stabilize our long-term care system and hold nursing home operators accountable to their employees, patients and communities.

Governor Baker, Senate President Rosenberg and Speaker DeLeo recognize the need to provide quality care at an affordable cost, and their leadership is even more vital now as we tackle the challenges ahead. We will continue to work with our elected leaders, healthcare providers and all stakeholders to protect and expand on the significant health and economic gains we have achieved together over the past decade and ensure that the voice of frontline healthcare workers remains at the center of ongoing discussions about reforming our healthcare delivery system.”

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Representing more than 56,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and over 400,000 workers across the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union.