Statement by Joe Hansen, President of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)
Washington DC— Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed health care reforms that will better serve all Americans. Thanks to the commitment of President Obama and Democratic Members of Congress, we now have reform legislation that has eluded our nation’s grasp for a century.
This is an achievement that will rank among the highest in our national experience.
For the countless hard-working families across the country suffering at the hands of our nation’s badly broken health care system, the passage of this bill represents an unprecedented leap forward in the struggle to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care—and makes good on President Obama’s promise to lead our country through the difficult challenges facing the American people on this issue.
With the passage of this bill comes an end to the worst of insurance company abuses. No longer will Americans have to fear being denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. There will be no more lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits. No more will insurance companies be allowed to retroactively cancel insurance coverage when a policy holder becomes ill.
Aside from reigning in insurance company greed, the bill also extends coverage to millions of Americans who would otherwise go without, reduces prescription drug costs for seniors, while encouraging employers to fulfill their obligation of providing benefits to their workers.
UFCW members participated in the health care debate in nearly every congressional district across the country. They made calls and wrote letters, rallied and marched, visited district offices and traveled to Washington D.C., to meet with elected representatives. UFCW members won’t forget the representatives who voted “yes” on these reforms and stood with working people and families rather than the insurance company lobbyists.
About Joe Hansen: President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Joe has played a key role in the negotiation of contracts covering hundreds of thousands of workers in the retail and food manufacturing industries. An original member of the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group, Hansen served as the sole worker representative in that congressionally chartered body. The group facilitated a groundbreaking national dialogue that resulted in a bipartisan consensus on the need for affordable, quality care for all Americans. About the UFCW: United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream, and is a charter member of organization Health Care for America Now - a key voice in America’s health care reform movement.