Statement from Miami Healthcare Workers

The Florence Johnston Collective has been building relationships with some Miami healthcare workers who are organizing at their workplaces, in affiliation with the Miami Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) chapter.  The following is a statement that some of them recently released, calling for action around budget cuts to healthcare in their area.  See the original post on IWW Miami’s website here.

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ATTENTION HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND PATIENTS!

We need to stop politicians and businesses from gambling with our lives!

Health care news in Miami-Dade County is grim. Last month the mayor threatened possible layoffs and slashing services in response to county workers overturning cuts from the worst of the fiscal crisis. A bill passed in 2011 as part of austerity for Florida’s Medicaid is set to damage all of our health systems. Miami-Dade will lose money for safety-net hospitals like Jackson Memorial that provide health care to the indigent. Even worse is that the State wants to take funds the county receives because we pay our tax to fund care for the uninsured and indigent and give it to counties that don’t — taking money from Miami’s poor to give to the rich. The Miami Herald estimates more than $200 million dollars in losses for hospitals in the county and over $140 million for Jackson alone (“Jackson Expected to Loose 120 Million” Miami Herald, March 1, 2014). This would be a blow to health institutions serving the underserved and contribute to the downward spiral for health care in our area.

These attacks come at a bad time for health care workers and the community in Miami. The fiscal crisis of 2008 led to hiring and wage freezes, increasing workloads, and cuts to services and social assistance in nearly every hospital system. A series of medicare/medicaid cuts has made it even worse. On top of this the Affordable Care Act pushes people to purchase insurance, but without any mechanism to ensure quality or control the costs. The outcome is again paying too much for very little. And with the state of Florida rejecting additional federal funds for Medicaid this has stripped the last band-aid to offset those stresses, sending our health care into critical condition.

The proposals from the politicians and healthcare industry are bankrupt and only serve themselves. But these attacks are not random; they are symptoms of a system that turns people into numbers on spreadsheets and keeps all the important decisions in the hands of government and business elites. Only by acting together can we work to stop this from getting worse.

The politicians and businesses that benefit from sabotaging our community’s health are scared of being exposed because they are benefitting from the poor quality health care and suffering of millions. They get away with it only by hiding what is really happening. Together we can change health care through using our power as health care workers to organize actions on the job and organize our friends, family and neighbors to protest. Our work and our community give us power to make changes in ways that voting for or begging those in power cannot.

Only by creating community ownership and control of health care can we defeat the constant manipulation of governments and businesses for their own benefit. Health care should be directed towards aiding all people to reach their fullest potential to live a healthy, dignified and meaningful life. Mutual aid, meaningful living and well-being should replace health services driven by the mentality of fee-for-service, profits first and an approach to medicine that consistently reduces people to objects. The South Florida Health Care Workers Committee of the IWW are organizing to build a new movement of workers for justice in our county. Join us to fight for better healthcare!

 

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