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S. Dak. Labor Day Rally Targets Health Insurance Reform

September 4, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD - South Dakota labor groups gathering for their annual Labor Day rally in Sioux Falls Monday say their focus will be on health care reform that helps working families facing escalating health care costs. Rozanne DuBois, president of CWA Local 7500 and vice-president of the state executive board of the AFL-CIO, says health insurance premiums have been rising at a dramatic rate in recent years, and those higher costs force families to make difficult decisions.

"People are having to choose between buying food or paying for their prescriptions. Many people, because prescription drugs are so high, only take half the medicine that they're prescribed to take because that's all that they can afford. And the wages aren't covering both food and medicine like they did five or six years ago. The only place it's going to go without reform is higher."

A critical component of health insurance reform is portability, says DuBois, which would be included in the public option. She says workers who quit their jobs, or are fired, face a significant health insurance hardship.

"My insurance should be portable. If I'm moving onto a new job in two weeks, I've given my two weeks notice at the company I'm presently at, I shouldn't have to wait and get pre-approved at my next job. The portability is a big aspect of the reform."

The health insurance industry is raising strong opposition to the public insurance option saying it will destroy insurers and create more government intrusion in the private sector. Proponents dispute those claims, arguing the people can choose whether they want public or private health coverage. The South Dakota Labor Day rally will be held at Elmwood Park in Sioux Falls on Monday at 1:00 p.m.

David Law, Public News Service - SD