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Health Care Facts and Fiction

Health Care Reform: Setting the Record Straight

With Congress in recess this month, it seems you cannot watch the news or read the newspaper without being subjected to overheated partisan claims, rumors and misinformation about the health care reform proposals working their way through the Senate and House.  

Educators agree that ensuring quality, affordable health care for everyone in America is vitally important to our nation’s children and families and to our economic future.  As educators, we know the difference health care can make in student achievement.  Students can't learn unless they come to school healthy.

That’s why it’s important that we have the facts, unfiltered and free of spin from special interest groups that benefit financially from the current health insurance system.  The time to reform health care is now.

Fiction
Our health care system works for most people.  We don’t need reform today.

Fact
Nationally, 9 million children lack health insurance of any kind.  If we do not act, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket, and 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.  Insurance for a family of four costs more than $12,000 on average, and the cost continues to rise much faster than general inflation.  The public overwhelmingly supports reform, and we can’t wait another year.  Congress needs to act now to pass legislation that protects what works and fixes what’s broken.

The majority of NEA members are fortunate to have health insurance, but we know that some Association members can’t afford their premiums and are forced to go without insurance.  Those who currently have health insurance continue to see their costs rise, their choices limited, and level of coverage diminish. 

Fiction
A public health insurance option will drive private health care insurance companies out of business and reduce consumer choice.

Fact
The public health insurance option will compete on an equal footing with the private insurance industry in terms of cost and quality.  The public option will keep insurance companies honest and expand the choice of plans and providers, including one that an employee may currently have through his or her employer, and a public health insurance plan option.  Medicare is a public insurance plan.

Fiction
Individuals who have health insurance will face a tax on their health benefits.

Fact
None of the three proposals in Congress (three in the House and one in the Senate) includes a tax on health care benefits.  NEA is working actively to make sure that Members of Congress understand that taxation of benefits is unacceptable.

Fiction
Health care reform will add a trillion dollars to our national deficit.

Fact
Under the current proposals, health care reform would be fully paid for over 10 years, and they would not add one penny to the deficit (“budget neutral”).  The truth is that the cost of inaction is too high.  Health care spending has grown in recent years three times faster than average wages.  Health care costs are eating into family budgets, forcing families into bankruptcy, making it hard for businesses to expand and grow, and preventing the government from investing in our schools and our infrastructure.

NEA will continue to push for reform that ensures that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage.  The Association opposes health care proposals that would tax employer-provided health benefits.  NEA also supports a choice of plans and providers — both public and private.

Tell the Senate to Include a Public Option and Oppose Taxation of Benefits in Health Insurance Reform Legislation.

Learn more about NEA’s position on health care.