SEIU Local 1991 was proud to join our partners with the Miami Healthcare Coalition at a town hall at CIC Miami. The event, which was free and open to the public, was designed to educate and engage area residents about a variety of issues that impact working families in South Florida.
SEIU Local 1991 Secretary Maggie Pena Vancol, a social worker at Jackson Health System, led a discussion about healthcare. She talked about how vital Medicaid funding is for both patients and the hospitals that treat them including Jackson Health System. “Medicaid funding is a lifeline for the poor, elderly and disabled,” said Pena Vancol. “Despite this critical need, federal and state lawmakers are threatening to cut this vital government funding that serves 74 million Americans. It’s imperative that our community works together to fight to protect our care and Medicaid funding so that patients and hospitals have the support they need to keep our community healthy.”
Pena Vancol urged the public to speak out against a Florida Senate health budget proposal that calls for redistributing more than 300 million in Medicaid “automatic rate enhancements”. If this proposal is approved, Jackson Hospital could have its Medicaid payments reduced by as much as $58 million dollars according to a News Service of Florida article. Other not-for-profit hospitals in Florida would also take a hit. “Hospitals are a refuge in our communities,” said Pena Vancol. “SEIU Local 1991 nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals at Jackson Health System (JHS) deliver the same high quality care to all patients who come through our doors including the poor and indigent. If JHS loses Medicaid dollars, it will impact our ability to fulfill our mission.”
Several other issues were addressed at the town hall. Immigration attorneys shared stories about ICE raids and deportations and the chilling effect they’re having on undocumented residents. They urged the public to call Congress and tell them to protect Dreamers and TPS recipients. Housing advocates talked about the shortage of affordable housing and the efforts underway to address this concern.