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NEA Expresses Concerns With Senate Health Care Reform

Nation’s largest union says health care reform cannot be financed by taxing middle-class workers

WASHINGTON - November 20, 2009 -

The Senate has taken the next step toward health insurance reform by introducing its Patient Protection and Affordability Act. However, the Senate bill, sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), is drawing concern from labor organizations as it is financed by an excise tax that will target the insurance plans of American workers. 

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the 3.2 million member National Education Association, today stressed the importance of not taxing middle class workers.  “While we are excited that the Senate is moving forward with a bill that will provide more health coverage for U.S. families and businesses, we cannot build this crucial reform effort on the backs of working families,” Van Roekel said. 

“NEA members agree that a final bill must stop insurance company abuses and provide the choice of a public health insurance option. But middle class Americans, including a majority of our members, know that as a result of this proposed excise tax, working families will lose many important benefits.” 

"We look forward to a healthy debate on the Senate floor and strongly urge the Senate to consider alternative ways to finance comprehensive health care reform.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,