1:45 PM Eastern - Friday, December 12, 2014

Health Marketplace Opening Successful: More than 450,000 Americans Signed Up for Health Insurance in the First Month #default

During this holiday season I hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy time with your family and friends.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry released to following statements after the non-indictments in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri and the choking death of Eric Garner in New York. It fills me with sadness as I think about the families and communities that feel the impact of a broken criminal justice system. However, it gives me great hope to know that SEIU members have joined in the demonstrations around the country and continue the fight against injustice wherever it is. All lives matter.

I am so proud of our SEIU brothers and sisters and community partners who helped kick off the smooth opening of the healthcare marketplaces on November 15. For example, SEIU-UHW hosted in-person enrollment events in three cities to help working women and men gain affordable coverage--many for the first time--and SEIU Local 503 has already helped 1,000 home care and personal support members sign up for lower-cost plans.

In this issue we have some great information including:

  • Highlights of unionwide Ebola trainings;

  • Information about how more Americans are gaining healthcare through the law.

  • A summary study asking if exercise really does make us smarter.

In Solidarity,

Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare

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Meet Two SEIU RNs Who Volunteered for the Ebola Care Team at Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center

When administrators at Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center were developing the Ebola response plan, they asked for volunteers to be a part of the care team. Elizabeth Patangan and Miguel Martinez, both cardiac ICU nurses and members of SEIU Local 721, volunteered.

"I became a nurse to take care of people, I feel like I shouldn't decide if I should take care of them based on what illness or disease they have," Patangan says. "Also, I think it's important for the patient that they want to have someone taking care of them who actually wanted to."

Click here to read and listen to their story: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/11/10/47886/meet-two-nurses-who-volunteered-for-ebola-duty/


SEIU Recommendations for a Strategic Domestic Response to Ebola
: Prepare Workers, Protect the Public

As the nation's largest union of healthcare and airport workers, SEIU recommended the following steps to ensure a comprehensive, effective response to Ebola that prepares and protects working women and men and the public from infection and ensures our nation's readiness for future public health emergencies:

  1. Clarify and strengthen OSHA enforcement policies to protect workers.

  2. Increase funding to OSHA for expanded enforcement and consultation.

  3. OSHA should issue an interim infectious disease standard to protect workers.

  4. Increased funding for long-term infectious disease research and worker training.

Dian Palmer, Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare and Ingela Dahlgren, Executive Director, Nurse Alliance of California weigh in on the actions SEIU nurses took in response to the Ebola situation.

"As nurses across the country watched the Ebola crisis in Western Africa with deep concern, our hearts went out to our colleagues caring for Ebola patients there and elsewhere, and to patients and families affected by the virus. Given the potential for the virus to spread to the United States, we wanted every nurse, healthcare worker and care facility to know the facts and be prepared to screen, identify and treat potential patients in their hospitals, clinics and other facilities. So we began working with our health and safety team to make sure we understood what resources nurses needed and how to get those tools to them."

Read the full post at seiu.org: http://www.seiu.org/2014/11/nurses-respond-to-the-ebola-crisis.php

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That Silence You Hear is the Sound of Healthcare.gov Working Just Fine

That ruckus you didn't hear over the weekend was the sound of Obamacare online marketplaces not failing to work. Healthcare.gov went fully operational in the wee hours of early Saturday morning [November 15], without technical difficulties, and most of the state marketplaces did too--although California and Washington state had some glitches. By the time Saturday was over, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell reported, more than 1,000,000 people had shopped for coverage on healthcare.gov and more than 100,000 people had successfully completed applications to buy insurance.

Read the full article in the New Republic: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120306/obamacare-open-enrollment-premiums-down-consumers-should-shop

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Open Enrollment Week 2: November 22 - November 28, 2014

As of the second week of Open Enrollment over 750,000 consumers have selected plans.

From the HHS blog:

Consumers continued to reach out to in-person assisters or call center representative at 1-800-318-2596 and visited HealthCare.gov or CuidadodeSalud.gov to learn about their plan options, to find out what financial help is available, or to select the plan that best meets their financial and health needs during the second week of Open Enrollment. This week's snapshot included the Thanksgiving holiday.

"The first deadline is just a couple of weeks away on December 15," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. "We're encouraging everyone who is already covered through the Marketplace to come back and shop because there could be savings. And for those who are thinking about getting health coverage, take a look at your options - most consumers qualify for financial help. We expect even more consumers to shop and save during the next two weeks."

Read the full post at: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/blog/2014/12/open-enrollment-week-two.html

House Republicans Sue To Raise Healthcare Costs For Poor Americans

House Republicans filed a long-awaited lawsuit against the Obama administration on Friday, arguing that the president has inappropriately acted without congressional authority to implement parts of the health care reform law. If it's successful, the lawsuit could increase out-of-pocket costs for millions of vulnerable Americans who already struggle to afford health services -- even though the GOP has repeatedly accused the law of making coverage too expensive.

According to the legal challenge, the White House shouldn't have acted unilaterally to delay the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act. But it also takes issue with a different provision of the law: subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions, which cap the amount that insurers are allowed to charge people for co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses....

If insurers no longer receive subsidies from the government to offset the cost of capping out-of-pocket costs, however, the New York Times reports that "the companies might be forced to raise costs elsewhere." That could directly affect out-of-pocket expenses among a population that already worries about being able to afford insurance.

Read the full story at ThinkProgress.org: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/11/21/3595823/obamacare-lawsuit-cost-sharing/

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Antibiotics During Pregnancy May Increase Child's Obesity Risk

A new study reports that antibiotic use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for obesity in the child.

Researchers studied 436 mothers and their children from birth until age 7, gathering data on antibiotic use from interviews. After controlling for gestational age, birth weight, breast-feeding, maternal body mass index and socioeconomic status, among other variables, they found that antibiotic use during the second and third trimesters was associated with an 84 percent increased risk for obesity in the child.

Read the full article in the New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/antibiotics-during-pregnancy-may-increase-childs-obesity-risk/?ref=health

Read the study in the International Journal of Obesity: http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ijo2014180a.html

Surprising Result Shows Kidney, Mortality Benefits of Niacin

The proportion of patients experiencing a rapid decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) can be decreased significantly with niacin, as can all-cause mortality, according to results from an observational study.

Read the full story at Medscape: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/835308

Does Exercise Really Make Us Smarter?

Exercise seems to be good for the human brain, with many recent studies suggesting that regular exercise improves memory and thinking skills. But an interesting new study asks whether the apparent cognitive benefits from exercise are real or just a placebo effect -- that is, if we think we will be "smarter" after exercise, do our brains respond accordingly? The answer has significant implications for any of us hoping to use exercise to keep our minds sharp throughout our lives.

Read the full story in the New York Times Blog: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/does-exercise-really-make-us-smarter/?ref=health&_r=0

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The Nurse Alliance Roundup is now online. Want to see past issues of the Nurse Alliance newsletter, beginning in 2013? Now you can.

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