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We can’t afford to let health care reform fall through the cracks

NEA responds to new report showing premium increases outpace cost of care

WASHINGTON - March 02, 2010 -

Health Care for America Now (HCAN) today released a new report that says health insurance premium costs are increasing faster than the cost of medical care. HCAN’s report debunks claims by lobbying groups that for-profit health insurance companies raise their rates to keep up with the costs that doctors and hospitals charge to treat patients. 

HCAN reviewed data from 2000 to 2008.  They found that premiums for individuals and families enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans increased between 90 and 97 percent, yet private insurers’ payments to health care providers only rose 72 percent. Medical inflation increased 39 percent.

The following can be attributed to National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel:

“We cannot afford to let health care reform fall through the cracks. I’ve been a math teacher for more than 20 years, and I can tell you that the numbers just don’t add up. Costs to consumers are going up at a far greater rate than the cost to the insurance companies. These tactics have pushed health care out of reach for too many people.

“Those people are mothers, fathers, teachers, school bus drivers and students…students who show up at the school doors too sick to concentrate on their lessons. Others are too sick to come to school at all. Meanwhile, health insurance lobbyists are playing the blame game and pointing fingers at who is responsible for premium increases.

“Insurance companies should not put profit and marketing ahead of people. HCAN’s report reinforces what NEA and health care reform supporters have said all along: Insurance companies must be held accountable for soaring premiums, cancelling coverage when people get sick, and denying care to people who need it most. Meaningful reform will ensure accountability.

“We urge our leaders to have the courage to do what’s right for America—pass health care reform that ensures quality, affordable health coverage for everyone.”

For more on NEA’s efforts on health care:

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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: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823,