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Letter to the House and Senate on the Excise Tax

January 07, 2010

Dear Representative/Senator:


As Congress works to craft a final health care reform package, the National Education Association would like to share with you three documents that highlight deep concerns about the tax and the highly problematic assumptions upon which it is based.  We have also included below the links to our previous correspondence with you on this issue.  Finally, we have spent countless hours analyzing the specific impact of this tax on our members’ plans in many states.  These analyses were delivered to your offices in mid-December by our Board of Directors.

Please find attached the following additional documents:

  • The Excise Tax on High-Cost Health Plans: Unfair To Women — a new NEA one-pager produced in December — outlines how the proposed excise tax will disproportionately hurt women, who are more vulnerable to high health care costs than men.  The National Education Association’s members are more than 70 percent women.  http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/UnfairtoWomen.pdf
     
  • A Less Than Honest Policy — a December 29 op-ed by NY Times columnist Bob Herbert — calls the proposed excise tax a “middle-class tax time bomb” and further argues that “the tax on health benefits is being sold to the public dishonestly as something that will affect only the rich, and it makes a mockery of President Obama’s repeated pledge that if you like the health coverage you have now, you can keep it.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/opinion/29herbert.html
  • The Cadillac Myth — a December 24 Slate.com article by Timothy Noah that examines that assumptions behind the excise tax and concludes that it would “put the brakes on health insurance costs. But it will also put the brakes on health insurance benefits. Meanwhile, it probably won't put sufficient brakes on doctor and hospital bills, which are the chief source of medical inflation.” http://www.slate.com/id/2239592/

The excise tax on high-cost health insurance would affect workers who, for decades, have sacrificed salaries for health care benefits, and would be so devastating that entire types of coverage would likely be stripped away from our members.  Our previous correspondence on this issue can be found at http://www.nea.org/home/32934.htm.  If you need copies of state-specific analyses of the impact of the excise tax on our members in selected states or school districts, please email Carrie Lewis at CLewis@nea.org

We look forward to working with you to find alternatives to the excise tax in order to help finance comprehensive healthcare reform.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson
Director of Government Relations