The Service Employees International Union will knock on doors and host community events to help people understand the Affordable Care Act before Oct. 1, when uninsured Americans will be asked to sign onto exchanges to purchase health insurance. The Obama administration has actively recruited companies, celebrities, sports teams and unions to help prepare the country as key components of the law finally go into effect, dubbing the consortium the "Champions of Change."
“Let there be no doubt, the new healthcare law is working for working people,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said. “We are not seeing the long-predicted ‘rate shock’ but we are seeing ‘Republican shock’ as extremists fail in attempts to repeal or obstruct the Affordable Care Act and its landmark protections and benefits for working Americans.”
Support from the SEIU comes as other labor leaders have pressured congressional Democrats and the White House to fix aspects of the law that they worry will hurt their members. In a letter to Obama and Democrats, some union leaders cautioned that the law incentivizes companies to cut employees to under 30 hours and that subsidies in Obamacare aren't extended to nonprofit insurance plans used by many unions.
The law will “destroy the very health and well-being of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans," they wrote.
Obama aides have met with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to discuss union concerns ahead of implementation. On Monday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., introduced a bill that would bar the administration from making unilateral changes that would benefit Big Labor.
SEIU leaders, however, have stood by the administration and have not publicly criticized the law. The union will target 14 states with high uninsurance rates to help low-income individuals who are most likely to have trouble signing up for the exchanges.
“It’s our moment to build power for working people by empowering them with the facts about the new healthcare law,” Henry said.