HR Strange But True!
August 27, 2004

You know there are problems in the American healthcare system when some of the workers who go on strike over benefits happen to be the very ones who deliver them: nurses.

About 1,700 nurses, medical assistants, therapists, and others formed picket lines outside 18 clinics in western Washington on Monday to start a five-day strike against Group Health Cooperative, one of the nation's oldest HMOs, according to the Associated Press.

The move came following the breakdown of negotiations between Group Health and the union representing the nurses, Service Employees International Union Local 1199.

Group Health, a nonprofit organization, says it needs its employees to pay more for health benefits to save money and prevent the HMO from passing costs along to members in the form of higher premiums.

Currently, union workers pay no premiums or deductibles--just $5 co-payments for office visits and prescriptions. Group Health wants to raise CO-payments to $15, institute deductibles, and charge premiums on a sliding scale, according to the AP.

Union members say they are willing to contribute more but not as much as Group Health has sought, adding that some employees could not afford health coverage under the cooperative's proposal.

Source: Associated Press, via the Boston Globe

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