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Letter to the Senate on the ACA Reconciliation package

December 02, 2015

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA) and the students they serve, we urge you to Vote No on the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762), which would dismantle major portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We strongly support the Affordable Care Act which ensures health care access for millions of children across the country and provides an opportunity for Americans to obtain quality, affordable care. Votes associated with this issue may be included on NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.

NEA members see first-hand every day the importance of access to health care for children’s success in school.  Students simply cannot learn unless they come to school healthy.  This bill’s eviscerating of the fundamental pillars of the Affordable Care Act would be devastating to the millions of children and their families who have benefited from improved quality and access to affordable health care. The effects of H.R. 3762 would take away:

  • Coverage from 32 million Americans who would be uninsured without the new law, including many students sitting in NEA members’ classrooms every day;
  • The freedom from worrying about being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. 17 million children no longer face coverage denials due to a pre-existing condition;
  • Freedom from fear of insurance companies raising premiums by double digits with no recourse  or accountability;
  • Freedom from discrimination of denied coverage because you happen to be a woman who is pregnant or a child with disabilities;
  • The right for parents to continue to cover their children on their health policies until age 26. 3.1 million young adults have already received coverage through their parents’ plans because dependent coverage was extended through age 26.

This bill’s provisions to halt Medicaid expansion will be devastating to millions of children and families across the country, especially those in the highest need communities. The ACA has had a dramatic effect on reducing the number of uninsured children, reaching a historic low as a result of implementation of the law. The Georgetown Health Institute recently released a study which points directly to the ACA and Medicaid expansion as the primary driver for this historic drop. Specifically, the study shows that states that extended Medicaid coverage to more uninsured adults saw nearly double the rate of decline in uninsured children as compared to states that didn’t accept the ACA’s Medicaid option.

While we are seeing historic lows of uninsured children, there are 4.4 million children still living without health care coverage. Notably, the Georgetown Health Institute study points out that children in living in poverty are disproportionately more likely to be uninsured. An alarming 22.4 percent of children live at or below the Federal Poverty Level, yet, they represent nearly 35 percent of the uninsured children population.  Now is the time to expand efforts to provide access and enrollment to quality health care, not end them.

While NEA continues to support the Affordable Care Act, we urge Congress to address the repeal of the 40 percent tax on health plans in a bipartisan manner and not in a reconciliation package that effectively repeals the ACA.

The 40 percent excise tax on health care plans provision of the ACA, which will go into effect in 2018, is often thought to only affect high-end and overly-generous health plans. In reality, however, this excise tax will have an indiscriminate impact on a broad range of individuals and families who, for reasons they cannot control, have health plan premiums that already or soon will reach the excise tax’s cost thresholds of $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for family coverage.

We urge you to Vote No on the Senate ACA Reconciliation package (H.R. 3762) to ensure children and families have access to quality, affordable health care.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler

Director of Government Relations