Members storm Capitol, champion Health 4 All

More than 1,000 SEIU members from across California took to the state Capitol on May 15 and demanded lawmakers fulfill the promise of the Affordable Care Act.

Millions of Californians are poised to benefit from health care reform. Unfortunately, the Governor wants to take $1.5 billion from the counties’ health care systems, even though 2.3 million Californians will continue to rely on counties for critical care.

Members gathered on the Capitol lawn and called on Gov. Brown to make the dream of health coverage for all Californians a reality.  In order to make that happen, California must act now to fully and urgently expand Medi-Cal, protect the vital health care safety net, and adopt innovative solutions that ensure all California residents have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Various SEIU members and supportive elected officials addressed the crowd during the rally, including 521 member John Gutierrez, an Emergency Room Technician at Valley Medical Center and Franciscan Monk.

“We have a message for the Governor. Expand Medi-Cal now. Expand it fully. Expand it in a way that doesn’t harm the health care safety-net.”
— John Gutierrez, ER Technician, Valley Medical Center, and Franciscan Monk.

The massive rally included everything from a large stage and sound system to a social media tent and face painting booth. Members also created photo postcards on site and delivered them to Governor Brown’s office later in the day.

“It’s all about health care access for everyone. This is important because people need to stay well and healthy. Everyone should have good quality of life throughout their entire lives.”
— Claudia Shope, 521 member, Retiree Chapter

Legislators who joined SEIU members at the rally included Senator Jim Beall, Senator Ed Hernandez, and Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan, as well as hundreds of Californians who receive home care services and are committed to the expansion of Medi-Cal and preserving the health care safety net.

“The main reason we are here is to make sure the Governor doesn’t cut our county health care budgets. We need to keep our health care funding to provide care to our communities.”
— Fred Wikkeling, IHSS provider, Santa Clara County.

Executive Director of SEIU California Jon Youngdahl also activated the crowd.

“I was inspired by how powerfully Jon Youngdahl could articulate everything we are working for.  When he asked if health care should only be a luxury, it really hit home for me.”
— Rosie Kidwell, Program Specialist II, Kern Medical Center.

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