This week, we tracked several pieces of important legislation moving fast through Tallahassee. Closer to home, Local 1991 members were active in speaking out about healthcare expansion and safe staffing, and helped Jackson North get approval for a helipad needed in order to build a Level II trauma center there.
Pensions: The Florida Legislature continues to try to fix what isn’t broken by destabilizing the pension system. On Friday, the House of Representatives voted on party lines to pass HB 7011, which would close the pension system to new employees hired after next January 1. The bill now goes to the Senate, which has so far been more reasonable on this issue.
Medicaid Expansion: After two key committees in both the Senate and the House rejected Medicaid expansion last week, the issue was declared dead by some opponents. To paraphrase Mark Twain, news of its death was greatly exaggerated. Certainly the House has taken a hard line, with Republican leaders suggesting they don’t want to take the billions in federal money Floridians are owed to cover more than a million uninsured low-income adults. They have yet to propose any real alternative.
But the Senate, in the form of Sen. Joe Negron, proposed an alternative that would accomplish many of the goals of Medicaid expansion. SB 7038, also known as the Healthy Florida proposal, would accept the federal money associated with Medicaid expansion and cover adults in a low-rate program similar to the state’s Healthy Kids system. Other ideas have been thrown out, but not yet filed. Negron’s bill passed the Committee on Appropriations on Thursday.
Other issues we are working on include elections and ethics reforms. For more on those issues, click here.
Member Activism: On March 19, the North Miami Beach City Council approved a helipad for Jackson North, thanks to the large crowd of supporters that included the healthcare professionals of JHS. Local 1991 president Martha Baker, RN, was in attendance with a contingent from Jackson North, including but not limited to Corrine Frasier, RN, Omayra Hernandez, RN, Keith Buehner, RN, Lisa Ward, RN, Marie Eloi, Med-Tech. Other supporters included County Commissioner Sally Heyman, JHS CEO Carlos Migoya, School Board Member Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, Dr. Rudy Moise and many others. Thank you to everyone who showed up. Together we are stronger!
Local 1991 member Denise Glass, RN, wrote a compelling argument against Congressman Paul Ryan’s drastic budget proposal that is featured in SEIU’s national coverage of the healthcare debate playing out across this country.
And our safe staffing campaign at JHS is picking up steam. We have held more than a dozen meetings on safe staffing in units across the system, with members offering credible evidence of the issues we are all seeing. We’re collecting that evidence and holding concurrent meetings with management to address issues going forward. We’re making progress and you are making a difference!