Healthcare workers say Senator Brown should change course on Medicare vote

Brown changes talking points on GOP plan, but caregivers press for a change in his vote

BOSTON – Massachusetts healthcare workers will launch a radio advertising blitz tomorrow calling on Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to change course on his plan to vote in favor of a Republican budget plan that would dismantle the Medicare system and implement controversial voucher system. Caregivers say that voucher system would put their senior patients at the mercy of private insurers and drive up costs for Medicare consumers.

The advertisements will air statewide until the vote occurs in an effort to sway the Senator against supporting the GOP plan which he announced his support for on Friday, May 13, at a Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry event.

Senator Brown has since tried to distance himself from his own endorsement of the budget and Medicare package put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), but it was reported yesterday that he still intends to vote in favor of it.

“We’re not asking Scott Brown to change his talking points on this dangerous plan to destroy Medicare,” said Leslie Stafford, a patient access representative at Boston Medical Center, “We’re asking Scott Brown to change his vote on this plan which would end Medicare as we know it, and jeopardize the health of thousands of vulnerable seniors.”

Members of the state’s largest healthcare workers union,1199SEIU – which includes a range of hospital, home care, and nursing home employees – say that Senator Brown’s endorsement of the Medicare overhaul is misguided.

“As frontline caregivers, we know that dismantling Medicare is a threat to our patients,” says the advertisement which will air on radio stations across the state until the vote is called. “We’re asking Scott Brown, please, don’t destroy Medicare. Don’t turn your back on seniors.”

“Even if Senator Brown thinks his party’s attack on Medicare will fail, he should still vote against the bill on principle. His allegiance to the party on this proposal to gut Medicare really calls into question his independence,” said Veronica Turner, executive vice president of 1199SEIU. “Everyone agrees there is a need to address the deficit, but dismantling Medicare while giving even more tax breaks and subsidies to big oil is absolutely the wrong approach.”

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