CLEVELAND, OHIO — On Thursday May 30th, concerned citizens, faith leaders, and union activists of SEIU District 1199 joined with Policy Matters Ohio, Common Good Ohio, and State Representative Mike Foley for a town hall forum on the state of healthcare in the greater Cleveland area.
A panel led by Nick Gurich, Organizing Director of SEIU District 1199, discussed the mounting problems of the healthcare industry, including the growing number of uninsured patients, the inability to address the concerns of healthcare workers and the fact that big healthcare systems are not doing enough to support the communities in which they do business.
One of the main topics of discussion was the need to expand Medicaid in Ohio. Pam Rosato of Policy Matters Ohio explained the economic impact of expansion, urging community members to rally support from their legislators. State Representative Foley echoed the need to expand Medicaid, pointing out that healthy workers are productive and engaged, building into our local economies and helping them thrive.
Frank Hornick, Ohio Healthcare Director of SEIU District 1199, and Pastor Aaron Phillips of Common Good Ohio reviewed the lack of community support from area hospitals in terms of contributing to the local tax base.
Pastor Phillips introduced attendees to the Cleveland PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) program. This innovative program creates an avenue for non-profits who don’t have to pay property taxes to voluntarily contribute to the needs of their communities. In Boston, over $35 million was raised through their PILOT program.
The meeting concluded with a call to action, urging attendees to get organized, to help support Medicaid Expansion and to urge hospitals to act responsibly.
For photos of the event click here.