Public News Service SEATTLE - As people who are uninsured or self-employed start the process of getting health coverage through the state's online insurance marketplace, there's one stop they might want to make first.
The SEIU Washington State Council, made up of unions that represent some nurses and home-care workers as well as other professions, has launched its own website, which it's describing as a simple first step with details about what types of information to get together to make the sign-up process easier.
Vicky Neumeier is a nurse and SEIU member. At the colonoscopy clinic where she works in Seattle, Neumeier said, she sees the consequences every day of being uninsured.
"They come in at a stage in their illness that is much more severe than they should have had, because they've waited, afraid to incur the cost," she said. "And it's just very, very heartbreaking to see that."
Working in the health care field, Neumeier said, even people who don't like all parts of the new law can agree that it will benefit many who are now going without coverage, if they can get past the controversy and learn about their options.
"Some of the misinformation that's been out about the Affordable Care Act is scaring people into thinking it's going to be too expensive and, 'I have to buy something that's too expensive.' There's not enough information out about the Medicaid expansion," she said. "If you're low-income, you may have help; it may be free."
Neumeier said she and other SEIU members have decided to be ambassadors of sorts for the new health care law. She said everyone knows someone without insurance, and they might just need some encouragement to try the sign-up process.
The SEIU website is HealthyWASEIU.org