NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Sean M. Spiller joined a coalition of labor, civil rights, religions, business, and public health advocates at a Statehouse press conference today to call on Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The incoming presidential administration has said it wants to repeal ACA quickly, and congress has begun taking steps in that direction.

Spiller, along with the other advocates, pointed out the devastating effect that loss of access to healthcare will have on millions of New Jersey residents. While he acknowledged that the pain and cost of repeal would be widespread, he focused his remarks on the effect it would have on New Jersey’s 1.4 million public school students.

Speaking of the dedication that NJEA members have to their students, he told reporters, “We do everything we can to give them opportunities in school. That’s what drives us.  But when politicians like the Washington Republicans actively work to deprive them of other important opportunities, it drives us to stand up and speak out.”

Spiller also outlined some of the damage that could come from taking healthcare access away from vulnerable children. “Instead of missing an hour of school to go to a scheduled checkup, they will miss a week of school when they become sick. Instead of getting the antibiotics they need right away when the infection hits and missing a short period of time, they are going to be out for an extended period of time, missing important instruction time.”

He closed with a call to New Jersey’s congressional delegation to take the lead in standing against the repeal of the ACA.  “I’m calling on our elected leaders in Washington to wake up,” he said.  “Recognize that this is much bigger than politics.  It’s about people.  It’s about human lives.  It’s about our children. Don’t take their healthcare away!”

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