Workers to protest Kaiser's treatment of Medicaid patients

Dozens of workers from Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente will protest April 9 the healthcare giant's care of Medicaid patients, according to a union news release.

The protest will occur at the Ritz Carlton in the District of Columbia, where the company CEO is receiving an award.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions — comprising 11 labor unions in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia — said members will hold signs and distribute leaflets "to raise concerns about the company treating a low percentage of Medicaid patients while raking in billion dollar profits and sitting on tens of billions of dollars in reserves."

The protest comes as Kaiser and the coalition are scheduled to resume negotiations April 17 through April 19 on behalf of more than 85,000 workers nationwide.

With the negotiations around the corner, Kaiser expressed disappointment about the protest plans and disputed the union leaders' allegations.  

John Nelson, vice president of communications at Kaiser, said via an emailed statement that the company's Medicaid enrollment has more than doubled since 2013, from 455,000 to more than 918,000 this year, and that overall health plan enrollment climbed 30 percent during the same period.

"We view Medicaid as critical to achieving our mission of providing care to the communities we serve," said Mr. Nelson.

"Kaiser Permanente is an integrated system of healthcare and coverage, and we go well beyond providing charity care in our emergency departments and inpatient areas. We work to provide the uninsured and underinsured with a medical 'home' where they can get continuity of care and comprehensive treatments."


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