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Florida ruling voids federal health reform

NEA: ‘If states reject health care reform, our children lose’


WASHINGTON - January 31, 2011 -

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Fla., handed down a ruling today on the multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The health care reform law provides crucial protections from the insurance industry’s worst abuses, including the denial of coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, and it expands health care coverage to millions of uninsured working families and their children. Judge Vinson agreed with Florida and the other states that joined the lawsuit about the unconstitutionality of the ACA’s “individual mandate,” which requires virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance. Arguing that the individual mandate could not be removed from the law without undermining the rest of health care reform, the judge voided the entire ACA. The ruling has been stayed pending appeal, so the law’s important health care protections remain in effect.

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

“Our children will be the big losers if these states ultimately are successful in their challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The ACA puts health care within the reach of millions of Americans living just above the poverty level, many of whom are students in our classrooms. NEA’s goal of a great public school for every student is only achievable if students come to school healthy and ready to learn.

“These states are spending taxpayers’ dollars on a lawsuit in an attempt to deny health care coverage to uninsured working families while they are cutting health care services to our most vulnerable citizens. At the same time, non-partisan Congressional budget analysts estimate that doing away with health care reform will cost the federal government $250 billion over the next 10 years—another sign of the shortsightedness of the lawsuit.”

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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: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823, srobertson@nea.org