On December 1, NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray sent the following letter to the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation including Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Kelly Ayotte, and US Representatives Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter:
Dear Honorable Members of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation:
I am writing to you on behalf of the 16,000 members of the National Education Association of New Hampshire regarding concerns of the so-called “Cadillac Tax” as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The tax is imposed on high cost health plans which will exceed certain thresholds in 2018, but it is already impacting public school employees today. While the tax has become known as the “Cadillac Tax” in reference to high-cost plans, comprehensive healthcare which protects families from medically related financial ruin, should not be construed as a “Cadillac”.
New Hampshire is home to beautiful scenery and frugal Yankee values, however, we also have the distinction of the most costly healthcare in the country.
As a result, insurance premiums are higher when compared to other areas of the country. In fact, some health plans today are close in cost to the 2018 thresholds. The high cost of healthcare and resulting high premiums will trigger the tax sooner and broader in New Hampshire than other areas of the country.
School district budgets are already constrained and our members regularly make concessions in contract bargaining to help ease the financial burden of taxpayers, and to attempt to gain meager salary increases while not sacrificing comprehensive healthcare for their families. As our members enter into bargaining for multi-year contracts, they are facing the prospect of layoffs, cancellation of healthcare benefits and frozen wages as districts attempt to mitigate the coming impact of the Cadillac Tax, knowing revenue sources are limited. It is now commonplace that a district will not negotiate a contract beyond one or two years due to the concern over the impending cost of healthcare and the Cadillac Tax in subsequent years.
As our representatives in Congress, we ask that an effort be made to ease the impact of the Cadillac Tax on New Hampshire educators, their families, and the taxpayers that support public education in the state. Any and all efforts should be made to mitigate the impact of the tax such as a regional adjustment, delay of implementation, or change in the law. Your attention to this issue is greatly appreciated. As I have previously stated, the impact of the Cadillac Tax is already being felt today.
President, NEA New Hampshire