CEA delivered hundreds of petitions signed by more than 10,000 teachers to members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation today. The petitions urge lawmakers to oppose a proposed excise tax on health care benefits.
The U.S. Senate’s version of proposed health care reform legislation includes an excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” health care plans, such as the plans that cover teachers and their family members.
The petition drive involved local Association presidents, building representatives, local political coordinators, and CEA UniServ staff throughout the state. The drive — which collected the signatures in just three days — was organized to inform Connecticut’s representatives in Washington that while CEA and its members strongly support health care reform, they adamantly oppose the excise tax on health care benefits.
CEA President Phil Apruzzese says CEA and its local Associations could have collected even more signatures if there had been a longer time period to circulate the petitions.
“Given the short time frame and the large number of teachers who signed these petitions, this sends a strong message to our representatives about why we object to the excise tax and the serious impact it will have on teachers,” says Apruzzese.
“If the excise tax remains in the final bill that is approved and signed into law, it will place an unacceptable burden on our members – with approximately 40 percent being affected in the very first year.”
The petition called taxing health care benefits “bad public policy” that would force employers to cut back health care benefits to avoid the tax or pass the new tax onto employees.
The petition noted that there are other options to pay for health care reform. For example, the proposed health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House funds health care reform by making large employers pay toward their workers’ coverage and adds a modest surtax on the wealthiest Americans.
“We are urging our representatives to ensure that the funding mechanism for this much needed health care reform is not in the form of an excise tax,” says CEA Executive Director John Yrchik.
For more information on the consequences of an excise tax on health care benefits, read the column by John Yrchik and Phil Apruzzese on page two of the December/January CEA Advisor.