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Letter to Representatives Hodes and Castle supporting Michelle's Law bill

October 04, 2007

Dear Representative Hodes and Castle:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for your Michelle's Law legislation (H.R. 2851). We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation, which would increase access to health insurance for college students required to take a medical leave of absence from their studies in the event of medical crisis.

The Michelle's Law bill was inspired by the tragic circumstances faced by Michelle Morse, the daughter of an NEA member, who was forced to maintain a full college course load while undergoing debilitating cancer treatment or risk losing her health insurance. Currently, dependent students between the ages of 19 and 24 lose their eligibility for dependent healthcare coverage if they do not maintain full-time student status because of illness. As a result, these students must purchase an expensive COBRA plan or continue classes in the face of a potentially debilitating or even deadly illness.

Your bill would allow college students to take medical leave while battling a serious illness and still maintain eligibility for their parents' health insurance. In so doing, it would ensure that seriously ill students can take the time necessary to undergo treatment and recovery before returning to their academic studies.

We thank you for your leadership in addressing this important issue.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy