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NEA applauds President Obama’s health care reform proposal

NEA president urges Congress to remember America’s uninsured children at Thursday’s summit

WASHINGTON - February 22, 2010 -

Today, in advance of Thursday’s much anticipated health care summit, President Barack Obama released his proposal for health care reform.  The National Education Association with the support of its 3.2 million members applauded the proposal. 

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“Millions of our nation’s children have gone without health insurance and proper medical care for far too long.  Over the course of the last year, the nation has watched as this political debate wound its way through a political obstacle course.  A year later, far too many children in this country are still without critical medical attention.  Now is the time to rectify this wrong.  There has been enough talk. There has been enough blame and finger pointing.  Now is the time for action.

“With President Obama’s new health care reform proposal released today and with the televised health summit on Thursday, our nation’s leaders have a renewed opportunity to grant these children and all working families a healthier outlook on life that will have a positive effect on their lives in school and the workplace.  Educators and school nurses know that children learn best when they are healthy, and we know that children without insurance are less likely to get medical attention when they need it.

“School nurses do a heroic job of trying to fill the gap and treat sick children at school, but the problems begin before students even enter the schoolhouse door. Even when uninsured children do see a doctor, the overall quality of their care suffers because they do not have a primary physician, and as educators, we know far too well that a sick child isn’t going to perform.

“If we want to ensure that no sick child suffers due to lack of medical care, and if we truly want to give every student an opportunity to receive a quality education, we must reform our health insurance system so every family is protected.  These are undebatable basic rights for every child in this country and neither should be fodder for partisan games.

“America’s working families bore a disproportionate burden due to the financial crisis over the last year. Congressional leadership has an opportunity to lighten that burden by quickly passing health care reform legislation that is comprehensive and provides affordable, quality health care for all Americans.”

For more information on NEA’s work on behalf of comprehensive health care reform, go to:

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Samantha Kappalman  (202) 822-7823,