You are here

Mom Congress: Health Care Reform and a Penalty Tax

This post is by Lily Eskelsen, National Education Association Vice President and member of the Mom Congress Advisory Board

There are eight million uninsured children in the United States.  They enter the doors of schools across the country unable to concentrate on their studies because of a stomach ache, nagging cough, or worse. Illness also forces many to miss school, affecting their ability to learn.

Troubled by this statistic and ones that say 46 million Americans lack health care coverage, the National Education Association's 3.2 million members took action by strongly supporting and working to bring real reform to our health care system.

But there is an untold story.  It's the true story of a penalty tax that would unfairly, adversely and disproportionately affect women.  The Senate version of health care reform wants to tax working Americans who have decent health insurance.

There are many myths surrounding the excise tax. Contrary to what excise tax supporters say, high premium costs are largely affected by gender, geography and other factors.

For instance, studies show that women's premium costs are consistently higher than men's.  In fact, in the 25-29 and 30-34 age groups, women were more than twice as costly as men to insure. So if health care benefits are cut to avoid paying the excise tax, women would be particularly hurt by any increases in cost-sharing and decreases in coverage.

Real health care reform should not include penalties for simply being born female.

I encourage members of Mom Congress to e-mail or call their Representative or Senator and tell them that the excise tax puts an unfair burden on the backs of women and hard working Americans.

I'm a sixth grade teacher from Utah.  I have given many tests and I can tell you that Senate and House conferees are facing a very high stakes test right now.  Like any test, there are right and wrong answers.  The wrong answer is to unfairly penalize working women and their families.

We were told that reform would provide more security and stability to those who already have health insurance. House and Senate conferees must work together to reform our health care system and get quality, affordable coverage for everyone.

National Education Association's 3.2 million members …
About NEA: