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SEIU Florida Calls Out “Healthcare Disaster DeSantis” Highlights Healthcare in “Vote for Freedom” Platform

Events Across State This Week Point To Needs Of Everyday Floridians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ed Gilhuly, egilhuly@leftcom.com, 305-807-6906

MIRAMAR, FL — SEIU Florida, which represents more than 55,000 active and retired health care professionals, public employees, airport workers, adjunct faculty and property service staff in the state today joined with elected officials to call out Republican nominee for governor Ron DeSantis at events in Miami, Palm Beach, Tampa and Orlando, with the union dubbing him “Healthcare Disaster DeSantis.” SEIU Florida Nurses and healthcare workers also announced details relating to healthcare in the union’s “Vote for Freedom” platform for the 2018 November elections.

The platform -- backed by a $5 million union investment in get-out-the-vote, communications and other outreach efforts to elect Andrew Gillum to the governor’s office and other candidates statewide – focuses on the needs and basic freedoms of working Floridians to support their families.  In addition to access to quality, affordable health care, these freedoms include union rights, good wages and affordable housing.

Gillum earned the official endorsement of SEIU Florida largely based on his pledge to protect and expand health care coverage to working-class Florida families, while his opponent has pushed extreme far-right policies that would gut programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and many other critical protections for children, seniors and millions of everyday Floridians.

“Too many hardworking Floridians are struggling to pay for health insurance, while uncaring politicians like Ron DeSantis would be a health care disaster for the people of Florida,” said Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida. “We need to put people over profits, and make the freedom of quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone.”

On health care, SEIU Florida’s “Vote for Freedom” platform includes these details:

Quality, Affordable Health Care for All
Access to quality, affordable health care should be a right for all Americans. We need to protect the coverage we have under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and the Children’s Health insurance program, and expand access to Medicaid for 700,000 Floridians who can’t afford insurance.

The Best Health Care Standards for all Floridians
Physicians, nurses and healthcare workers are united to hold hospitals and nursing homes accountable so that Floridians receive the highest quality care. We also need to make sure our safety net hospitals are adequately funded to continue serving low income communities.

Good Wages that Attract & Retain Experienced Healthcare Professionals
By raising wages in our state, we can ensure that Florida families receive the best possible care from experienced nurses and healthcare workers.

Safe Staffing to Protect Patients
Unsafe staffing in our hospitals and nursing homes is putting lives at risk. The State needs to make sure healthcare facilities invest in bedside care with enough staff to treat our most vulnerable Floridians.

Transparency that Holds the Nursing Home Industry Accountable to Taxpayers
Millions of our taxpayer dollars that go to nursing homes should be invested in bedside care and safety for our seniors, not outrageous CEO salaries and bonuses, and shell corporations that make owners rich.

“There’s so much at stake in this election with our health care under attack by Ron DeSantis,” said Margalie Williams, a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home in Miami and a cancer survivor. “I won’t rest until elected officials take action to protect and expand health care because I know first-hand that quality affordable medical care can be a lifesaver.”

Throughout his career, DeSantis has voted to gut protections for Floridians with pre-existing conditions.

Last year, DeSantis initially withheld support from the Republican-proposed American Health Care Act, which would take away health care from 24 million people, because he said it did not go far enough. DeSantis only voted for the bill after he and far-right allies secured changes allowing insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. DeSantis also supported the Cruz Amendment, which would have decimated essential health benefits and protections for pre-existing conditions.

In Florida, many healthcare workers cannot even afford health care for themselves. The average wage for a certified nursing assistant is approximately $11 per hour, according to various employment services, and union surveys show 75 percent of nursing home workers can’t afford the rising cost of health insurance.

“Working so long and hard for so little is not freedom, and we need to repeal and replace the politicians who have created this unfair situation,” Russo said.  “This November, we need to vote for freedom.”

For more information on SEIU Florida, visit www.seiufl.org.

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SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.