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NEA Applauds President Obama's commitment to health care reform

Van Roekel: health care reform is vital to economic recovery and crucial to public education

WASHINGTON - March 05, 2009 -

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel today applauded President Barack Obama for holding a White House summit to jump-start a national dialogue about health care reform, calling the effort vital to the nation’s economic recovery and a crucial ingredient for great public schools for all students. President Obama placed reforming health care at the top of his domestic agenda along with modernizing the education system and stabilizing the economy. This week, he began a concerted effort to turn the nation’s attention to this pressing issue, which includes 46 million uninsured Americans.

“Ensuring quality, affordable health care for everyone in America is fundamental not only to our economic future but also critically important to our nation’s children and their families,” said NEA President Van Roekel. “When school nurses become primary care providers, as what happens all too frequently today, we’re well past the time for health care reform. Students can’t learn unless they come to school healthy.”

NEA members know firsthand that the lack of necessary medical and dental services for children and students of all ages creates a serious impediment to the learning process. In addition, families with access to a regular source of medical care are more likely to keep the entire family healthy and create a better learning environment within the home. Helping public schools attract and retain high-quality educators, along with secure, affordable health care benefits, play an important role in ensuring great public schools for all students.

NEA is committed to health reform to ensure that every person in America has quality, affordable health care coverage. Not only is this a moral imperative, it is a key component of controlling spiraling health care costs. Health reform must also guarantee a choice of health care plans and providers through a private health insurance plan, including one that an employee may currently have through their employer, and a public health insurance plan. This choice is a fundamental feature of an American solution for health reform and another critical piece of cost control. Health reform that provides comprehensive benefits to all at an affordable cost guarantees a choice of health plans and rewards quality and innovation as an attainable goal that the public supports.

“We look forward to working with President Obama and his administration to finally achieve quality, affordable health care for everyone in America,” concluded Van Roekel.

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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: Miguel A. Gonzalez
(202) 822-7823,