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Letter to the House urging Members to sign onto a Dear Colleague Letter Opposing an Excise Tax on Health Insurance Plans

October 05, 2009

Dear Representative:

The National Education Association (NEA) urges you to add your name to a “Dear Colleague” letter (see attached) being circulated by Representative Courtney opposing the imposition of an “excise tax” on health insurance plans over a certain threshold.  The deadline for signing the letter is noon on Tuesday, October 6.  To add your name, contact Maija Welton in Representative Courtney’s office at 5-2076 or

NEA has been working with our 50 state and 14,000 local affiliates to review the potential impact of the excise tax proposed by the Senate Finance Committee on our members’ health care plans.  Our findings have been as sobering as they have been disturbing.  Simply put, for school employees, their health plans, and their employers, whether large or small, the excise tax would be devastating.  The bottom line is that education employees will be pushed to pay the tax in the form of wage cuts, higher premiums, increased out-of-pocket costs, and lower benefits.

The health care plans of hardworking public education employees are not luxuries stuffed with unnecessary medical benefits, as proponents of the excise tax would have the public believe.  They are precisely the kind of good, comprehensive health benefit plans that health insurance reform is supposed to be encouraging.  We have no doubt that this tax would quickly have the devastating effect of causing instability and insecurity in the group health care market, and would threaten the existence of retiree health care benefits around the country.  In everything but name, this is a tax on the workers.

The excise tax undermines the reform effort and must be taken off the table.  We urge you to sign the Courtney “Dear Colleague.” 

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this most critical matter.


Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy