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Letter to the Senate Urging a Yes Vote on the Motion to Proceed on the Health Care Bill

November 20, 2009


Dear Senator:

The National Education Association, representing 3.2 million educators across the nation, strongly urges you to VOTE YES on the motion to proceed on H.R. 3590 – the merged health insurance reform bill scheduled for consideration this weekend.  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. 

The introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act earlier this week represents a significant step toward achieving the health care reform our nation so critically needs.  While not a perfect bill, it contains many positive provisions, including a public insurance plan option that will help bring down costs, and provisions that would end the practice of coverage denials and raised premiums due to preexisting conditions or gender.

We do have serious concerns about provisions in the bill that would impose an excise tax on high cost plans, as we strongly believe this is the wrong way to finance reform and one that will ultimately result in an unfair reduction in benefits, worse health care outcomes, and serious political ramifications.  However, we believe that Americans want and deserve action on health care, which requires a healthy, thoughtful debate on the Senate floor.

Our nation is at a critical juncture in the health care reform debate.  Blocking movement of this bill will serve only to thwart efforts to craft the strongest bill possible.  We must continue on the path toward enactment of meaningful health insurance reform – and the first step is allowing debate to proceed on H.R. 3590. 

Again, we strongly urge you to VOTE YES on the motion to proceed.  Thank you. 

Dennis Van Roekel