Every year we hear this is the most important election ever. A strong argument can be made that the 2020 election is exactly that. The question we hope to answer for you is: How does this election affect you and your family?
One issue that drives contract negotiations is health insurance coverage. The cost of medical insurance depends on what types of coverage you and your family receive. When the Affordable Care Act became law, insurers were required to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. This requirement provided coverage for almost every NEA-NH member or member of their family. The law also eliminated the one million dollar lifetime cap on medical expenses for members and their families.
Those two protections for you and your family are, if things do not change, about to be eliminated and you will not be guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions. You will also have the one million dollar lifetime cap imposed on you by your insurance provider once again.
How is this going to happen. It’s simple and it will happen.
On November 10, 2020 the United States Supreme Court will hear a case which would eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. The current make-up of the Supreme Court has previously voted on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. By a 5-4 vote, it was upheld and we have benefited from the insurance protections it provides. With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the November 10th hearing will go forward and a 4-4 vote by the court is likely.
When the Supreme Court ties on a vote, then the ruling of the lower court remains in effect. The ruling of the lower court in this case was to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. All of it, good, bad, or neutral no matter where you stand on the specifics. Congress has not passed any version of a law which would provide coverage for pre-existing conditions.
President Trump has supported repeal of this law and said he would offer a replacement. In four years that has not happened, and many senators do not support coverage for pre-existing conditions. They would rather you negotiate the price for that coverage with your insurance provided-regardless of the cost to you.
When you start negotiating the cost of that coverage, your premiums will rise-if you can even get that coverage. The cost of medical increases will affect the amount you receive for pay increases, or even how many staff positions will go unfilled because districts cannot afford to rehire or retain staff to fill them.
Already, the pandemic has forced schools to take on an incredible amount of debt to provide for the functioning of our schools. Improvements to school air quality need to be made and taxpayers will have to pay the bill for them, or staff will be forced to bear that burden through shifts in spending or staff reductions.
Finally, we need to ask our members, is this the time to reduce insurance coverage for members when they are experiencing the effects of a pandemic that has cost over 200,000 American lives?
The ability to speak through your vote is this November. The message should be loud and clear. It should reject the repeal of coverage for pre-existing conditions, the loss of the lifetime cap on medical expenses paid, and you must register your support for candidates who will protect you and your family.
This edition of The Educator is called the Voter Guide as it contains the information you need in order to make an informed decision about the quality of life for you and for your family. The recommended candidates earn NEA-NH’s recommendation because they support you in your chosen profession, they support public school education, and they support the safety of you and your family.
Please take this opportunity to review the research into the candidates done by your colleagues and then vote for those who will support you. Because this election really is the most important election of our lifetime.