Beating the Bush for Healthcare

Can you stand hearing a little bit of good news?

It comes from an unlikely source: That massive tax bill that the Bushites just rammed through congress, giving away at least 325 billion of our tax dollars to a handful of rich American families that neither need nor deserve this windfall.

But sometimes you can find a jewel in a junkpile. Tucked into Bush's massive giveaway to the Wall Street crowd is a little something that will help folks from our streets. It's a $20 billion provison to provide emergency aid for states that are grappling daily with our nation's growing health care crisis.

Nearly every state in America is facing a budget squeeze, and to make ends meet, most legislatures are blindly whacking the budgets for health care programs that provide essential services to seniors, low-income children, people with disabilities, and others without health care coverage. In my state of Texas, for example, legislators "fixed" their budget shortfall by tossing some 250,000 children out of the state health care program -- out of sight, out of mind. It's children like these that the emergency health care money will help.

But this $20 billion jewel didn't just appear in Bush's junkpile of a bill -- it was placed there through a determined effort led by the men and women of the Service Employees International Union. Half of SEIU's members are nurses and other health care employees who are on the front lines of meeting America's needs, and they are appalled that so many are being abandoned in a country that is so rich -- so they forged a coalition with community groups, seniors, and others and launched a "Put Families First" grassroots campaign, bombarding our congress with thousands of personal appeals for decency, fairness... and sanity.

Insanely, the Bushites opposed this aid -- but people power prevailed. When people get organized, we win! To join other fights for good health care, call SEIU: 202-898-3200.

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