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
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
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.
Press, via the Boston Globe