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Letter to the House on the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762)

January 05, 2016

Dear Representative:

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) and will be voted on this week. NEA strongly supports the ACA because it ensures access to quality, affordable health care for millions of children and their families all across the country. Votes associated with this issue may be included in NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.

NEA members see firsthand every day that access to health care is vitally important to children’s success in school. Students simply cannot learn unless they come to school healthy. H.R. 3762 would take away:

  • Healthcare coverage from 32 million Americans, many of whom are students in NEA members’ classrooms
  • Freedom from worry about being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions (17 million children no longer face coverage denials due to pre-existing conditions)
  • Freedom from fear of insurance companies raising premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability
  • Freedom from discrimination of coverage being denied because you happen to be a woman who is pregnant or a child with disabilities
  • Parents’ right 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 the ACA extends coverage through age 26)

Designed to halt Medicaid expansion, H.R. 3762 would devastate millions of children and families across the country, especially those in the highest-need communities. The Affordable Care Act has had a dramatic effect on reducing the number of uninsured children, which is now at a historic low; the Georgetown Health Institute recently released a study that points directly to the ACA and Medicaid expansion as the primary driver for this achievement. (Specifically, the study shows that states that extended Medicaid coverage to more uninsured adults saw nearly double the rate of decline in uninsured children compared to states that did not accept the ACA’s Medicaid expansion option.)

Some 4.4 million children still lack coverage even though the number of uninsured children is at a historic low. As the Georgetown Health Institute study notes, children 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—and they constitute more than one-third of the uninsured child 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 repeal of the 40 percent excise tax on health plans in a bipartisan manner—not in a reconciliation package that effectively repeals the law’s fundamental pillars. We appreciate that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015 included a two-year delay in the excise tax but we recognize that it is only delaying what will inevitably create a hardship for many working families.

The ACA’s 40 percent excise tax on health care plans, now scheduled to take effect in 2020, is often thought to affect only high-end and overly-generous health plans. In reality, it will have an indiscriminate impact on a broad range of individuals and families whose health plan premiums—for reasons they cannot control—cross the threshold at which the excise tax takes effect: $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families.

We urge you to VOTE NO on the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762) to ensure that children and their families continue to have access to quality, affordable health care.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations