Nurses and Healthcare Workers Condemn Move by Senate to Begin Repeal of the ACA

January 12, 2017


Contact: Eunic Ortiz | | 347.880.5862

1199SEIU Workers Stand United to Demand a Plan to Preserve Insurance for 30 Million Americans

New York, NY – While millions of Americans were sleeping last night, the Senate voted to begin steps to decimate the Affordable Care Act – which provides coverage to 30 million Americans nationwide. Healthcare workers stand united in demanding a plan be in place before the ACA is demolished. The plan should at a minimum preserve insurance for people who gained coverage under the current ACA, prevent insurance companies from unfairly discriminating against patients, and preserve Medicaid funding for the states.

1199SEIU healthcare workers spoke out against this move, saying it would be devastating for their communities and harm their patients.

“As a caregiver at a community health center, I know firsthand that affordable health insurance is vital to improving the quality of life for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Anestine Bentick, Lead Medical Assistant at the South Boston Community Health Center in Massachusetts. “Because of healthcare reform efforts in Massachusetts and the Affordable Care Act, patients come to our health center more frequently for their primary and preventive care. From managing chronic conditions like diabetes to battling an addiction to opioids, we are their first line of defense against more serious illnesses. We cannot stop the steady progress we have made – we must ensure that our patients have the health insurance they need to receive the quality care they deserve.”

“Our mantra has always been “first we do no harm” and we are asking that Congress replace the ACA before they repeal it. I know for a fact that we see more patients than we did before we had the ACA. It really works. We are a safety net hospital – the only one in The Rockaways. Repealing the ACA could affect the viability of our institution and many others like us,” said Deb Friedland who is a Registered Nurse at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, NY.

“My 19-year-old daughter has a medical condition that puts her at a high-risk of developing glaucoma, so it’s very important that she gets routine check-ups at the doctor,” said Pat Matthews, a certified nursing assistant in Newark, NJ. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, I am able to keep her on my insurance plan and get her the care she needs. I am very worried about what will happen if she loses her health coverage because we don’t have any other options financially.”

“Since people are able to have insurance now, they feel better about themselves; they come into the hospital and they don’t have to worry that they won’t be seen or that they can’t afford to see a doctor,” Debora Jeje who is a patient care coordinator at United Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"During a difficult time in my life, I couldn't afford the health insurance offered through my job because it was too expensive. For two years I enrolled in the Affordable Care Act until I found a better job with a living wage and health insurance. I'm grateful for the Affordable Care Act because it covered me when I had no one to help me pay medical bills or take care of me if I fell sick, and it protected me until I got back on my feet. People in Government who think they can take away healthcare programs like the ACA don't see or understand how many low-income workers like me struggle to make ends meet,” said Fernando Quintero, Spring Hill Health and Rehabilitation Center in Brooksville, Florida.

“I think it is criminal to take health insurance away from people who finally got it after many years of having nothing. We all know someone in our lives who are in need of health care services. When people have insurance they come in earlier and sooner and issues can be solved early. When they don’t have health insurance they wait until a problem becomes serious and the procedures that they require are more extensive and costly. Many people have said that the ACA takes money out of their pockets but repealing without a plan will cost us much more,” said Jamila Sherman, Health Unit Coordinator, Crouse Hospital, Central NY.

"As a single mom raising four children I know how scary and stressful it is to not have health insurance. Before the ACA I struggled to get health insurance because of my many health issues including diabetes, brain tumors, and seizures. And even though I work hard every day as a CNA I can't afford the health insurance offered by my employer. If the ACA is repealed without a plan to protect the 22 million of us who depend on it, I think it will be very dangerous for me, my family, and my community,” said Tracey Everett, CNA, The Manor at Guilderland Center, Hudson Valley, NY.


1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest union in New York and the largest healthcare workers union in the nation. They represent over 200,000 healthcare workers in the greater New York City area and over 400,000 total members throughout the East Coast. Their mission is to achieve quality healthcare and good jobs for all.