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Health Care Workers Demand That Congress Generate Jobs, Not Health Care Cuts, in 'Take Back the Capitol' Week

December 7, 2011

Health Care Jobs Heal Economy While Protecting Lives of Seniors and Families

Washington DC — Protesters from across the country held a speak-out and rally today, calling for Congress to focus on creating jobs rather than proposing health care cuts that harm patients and eliminate jobs from our weak economy. The event is part of a week of actions in support of the “Take Back the Capitol” initiative. On Tuesday, underemployed workers and jobless people joined full-time health care workers in visiting members of Congress. The delegations demanded job security and no cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Cutting spending on the nation’s two main health care programs would result in immediate job losses in most states.

VIEW VIDEO OF "SUPERHEROES SPEAKOUT" EVENT, PART OF THE 'TAKE BACK THE CAPITOL' INITIATIVE.

Nikki Brown-Booker, who has had a disability her entire life, traveled all the way from Berkeley, Calif., to recount how Medicaid has helped her personally while providing the opportunity for employment to others. Because of Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, she can hire home attendants to provide services she needs to remain independent and productive at home.

“Thanks to Medicaid, I was able to move out of my parents’ house when I was 18, go to college, get a master’s degree and become a productive, taxpaying member of the community – all while creating opportunities for others to also work,” said Brown-Booker, a marriage and family therapist who works with parents and children who have disabilities.

The health care sector is the nation’s biggest job creator, generating 20 percent of the country’s new employment this year and accounting for 1 out of every 8 American jobs. Repeated proposals to slash health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare would cripple this engine for job growth and economic recovery and threaten the well-being of countless seniors, children, people with disabilities and working families. 

“Instead of investing in jobs, Congress wants to invest in more tax breaks for the wealthy,” said William McNary, President of USAction, the nation’s largest network of state advocacy organizations and founding partner of Health Care for America Now (HCAN). “We’re not going to let that happen. Every dollar being wasted on tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires should be spent on providing and preserving needed health care jobs. Every dollar wasted providing corporate loopholes should be spent on shoring up Medicaid and Medicare, not cutting them. Every dollar wasted on a bloated military budget should be spent providing high quality, affordable health care for all.”

Speakers joined hundreds of workers in a march to K Street, where protesters confronted corporate CEOs and lobbyists for some of the country’s largest companies, which have avoided paying their fair share of taxes for years. These executives have managed to remain part of the country’s wealthiest 1% while the other 99% continue to struggle in the face of constant threats to their health care and their livelihoods.

CO-SPONSORS: AFSCME, Alliance for a Just Society, Campaign for Community Change, Caring Across Generations, Health Care for America Now, Jobs with Justice, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National People’s Action, PICO Network, SEIU, USAction.