On the eve of Obamacare open enrollment, candidate Shea offers health care, challenges fellow Democrats to do same.

September 30, 2013 — Austin, Texas — Tomorrow, as millions of Americans begin to sign up for affordable health care as part of national health care reform, the Brigid Shea campaign for County Commissioner proudly announces it offers campaign staffers employer-sponsored health insurance.

“This is a profession where employees really have been taken advantage of,” says Shea. “Typically they are contract labor so they don’t even get their social security or taxes taken out and they almost never get health insurance. As leaders and people running for office, we need to walk the talk. We should be providing health insurance for our staff.”

Shea supports national health care reform under the leadership of President Barack Obama. The Affordable Care Act will cover an estimated 30 million of the 50 million people who are currently uninsured. Open enrollment for the expanded health care coverage begins tomorrow with coverage going into full effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Shea’s stance on this issue is mirrored by the Travis County Democratic Party (TDCP) which believes 100% health care sponsorship is part of living the values of the party.

Campaign workers are typically young, work long hours for little pay, and are not offered health care through their campaign organization. While some may be reimbursed for their health care expenses, medical coverage is typically obtained and maintained by the staffer. Shea challenges all her fellow Democratic candidates to follow her lead and that of the TDCP to turn this practice around.

“Brigid practices what she preaches,” says Kristin Fine, Shea’s campaign manager. “We burn out our young people who work in politics. They end up moving into the private sector and we lose them forever. We won’t be able to keep those people with experience if campaigns don’t begin to offer a competitive health benefits package. Everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care. Hopefully, other local campaigns are providing health care coverage.”

Health care expert and former State Representative Ann Kitchen praises Shea and other small businesses for recognizing the importance of providing employee health benefits. "Healthy employees are an integral part of what makes for a thriving, successful organization," Kitchen said. "By extending health care coverage to her employees, Brigid is making a wise investment in the overall value of her campaign. This is the kind of leadership she will bring to many issues, and it's why I'm supporting her."

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