July 2, 2009
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Senate Healthcare Reform Package
WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers is pleased that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's healthcare reform bill includes a strong public insurance option—a key component for reducing costs and providing healthcare security for all Americans.
The AFT supports a comprehensive public option that guarantees high-quality choices and more affordable coverage, and that will increase competition, which will hold insurance companies more accountable. We also are pleased that the HELP committee included a proposal on "pay or play," which requires employers who do not offer workers adequate coverage to pay an annual fee.
The AFT applauds the leadership of Sens. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dodd (D-Conn.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Brown (D-Ohio) in shaping this crucial legislation. We look forward to working with them and others in the Senate to strengthen the proposal.
Healthcare reform cannot wait any longer. The AFT joins the millions of Americans across the country who are watching closely as Congress works to develop a system that is fair to all, not just the privileged.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.