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Letter to House of Representatives urging passage of Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009

November 07, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

The National Education Association (NEA), representing 3.2 million educators across the nation, urges you to:

VOTE YES on passage of H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009.”

VOTE NO on the Motion to Recommit.

Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress.

Ensuring quality, affordable health care for everyone in America is fundamental not only to our economic future but also critically important to our nation's children and their families. Students can't learn unless they come to school healthy. NEA members know firsthand that the lack of necessary medical and dental services for children and students of all ages creates a serious impediment to the learning process. In addition, families with access to a regular source of medical care are more likely to keep the entire family healthy and create a better learning environment within the home.

H.R. 3962 would provide more affordable, quality coverage for all, call for shared responsibility by individuals, employers and government, and expand health insurance coverage choices, including being able to retain one’s current coverage, have additional private plan options, and a public health insurance option designed to lower costs and keep insurance companies honest. We strongly support the provisions in the bill that make health insurance and health care services more affordable. In particular, premium assistance, reduced cost-sharing, and application of an out-of-pocket cap are central to making health care accessible to low and middle income individuals and families.

For millions of Americans, affordable coverage is secured through the workplace. We support the provisions that retain and strengthen the provision of employer-sponsored insurance and extend this responsibility across a broader spectrum of employers. And, we strongly support the assistance in purchasing health insurance to working families through the exchange, including the option of a public health insurance option that would be available nationally on Day One.

Finally, the progressive financing provisions in the bill are central to ensuring that middle income families do not take on an even greater burden for securing comprehensive health insurance coverage for their families. Together, these provisions are vital to ensuring that persons in all corners of our country are able to afford health insurance and to readily access health care services.

The Motion to Recommit is unnecessary and short-sighted. It would prevent undocumented immigrants from spending their own money to purchase health insurance through the proposed exchange. The House bill does not spend federal dollars on undocumented persons, but should not be amended to block immigrants from spending their own money to purchase health insurance coverage. An American solution should allow all workers and families, including immigrants, to share in the responsibility of health care reform, pay their fair share, and purchase affordable health coverage.

Health care reform should eliminate barriers to quality, affordable health coverage, not create them. Costly verification or documentation requirements will divide families and keep eligible Americans from receiving care. We need to remove, not add, obstacles that will stand in the way of quality, affordable health care for everyone.

Again, we urge your support for this landmark legislation.

Sincerely,

Dennis Van Roekel
President