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SEIU continues to push the Affordable Care Act

Maya Jones | 11/7/2013, 12:54 p.m.

Members and employees of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) continue to encourage residents in the African-American and Hispanic communities to get health care via the new Obamacare insurance exchanges. As one of the nation’s largest unions, SEIU’s campaign ads are constantly popping up on health care insurance sites in support of the new Affordable Care Act.

In a recent interview with Reuters, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry mentioned that 80,000 people in New York are currently signing up to enroll. SEIU activists are appearing at local heath fairs, community centers, training programs and outreach work sites to make sure local New Yorkers have the right information at hand before choosing a suitable premium available in the new exchange.

“People want the peace of mind that the Affordable Care Act gives them. They want the access to preventive health care services that are free under the act because many, many, many people suffer from chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and asthma, and they want to attend to those so that they can live long and help with their grandchildren,” said Henry.

Henry says the union sees a strong link between the Affordable Care Act and immigrants’ rights. The union plans to encourage the majority of Republican members inside the House of Representatives to pass SEIU’s version of immigration reform. She mentions that SEIU workers are in districts to help persuade members to pass the revised reform before the upcoming Thanksgiving break. The Affordable Care Act is open to legal immigrants, giving them the same opportunities to purchase premiums. The problem is that under the law, Obamacare will not cover illegal immigrants in the country.

Executive Director and First Vice President of the Doctors Council of SEIU Frank Prosia believes that every person has the right to be insured under the Affordable Care Act.

“We certainly need to include all people. ASA [[ED: WHAT IS ASA?]] is a step in the right direction” he said. “We do not ask people where the come from or what they make. We are only doing what is right.”

The speculations concerning the previous government shutdown led consumers to believe that the website crash for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange was purposely planned. Prosia cleared up those rumors.

“It was an unfortunate situation that hurt a lot of employees. I think people out there are serious about enrolling in the program. ASA wants to offer the best possible service while the affordable healthcare act is available”, said Prosia.

In a recent blog post on SEIU.org, members have made tremendous amount of efforts to help the Obama administration reach its goal of enrolling 7 million Americans before the deadline of March 31, 2014. Due to the high traffic on the healthcare.gov website, SEIU union members and activists are knocking on at least 1,800 doors a day in New York City, making it convenient for consumers to fill out applications in their own homes.

Prosia says, “We are advocates. We are constantly working with community groups and outreach programs to make sure each consumer is aware of the type of coverage they can receive. The Affordable Care Act should be integrated within all people.”