NEA Backs Anti-Amendment 63 Campaign: How Does This Help Members?

Back in March I pointed out how school teachers and other union members who belong to the National Education Association (NEA) have financially supported Obama Care whether they like it or not. This week brings an important update to the story. The NEA donated $50,000 to the committee opposing Colorado’s Amendment 63 “Right to Health Care Choice” Initiative, which would:

Write into the Colorado Constitution that the State of Colorado cannot force its citizens to purchase a public or private health insurance product, either on its own, or on behalf of the federal government. In other words, Colorado would not be able to implement a Massachusetts-style insurance mandate (otherwise know as Romney Care).

Interesting. Especially when the same kind of mandates in the federal health care legislation have had this sort of impact:

The health-care overhaul enacted last spring won’t significantly change national health spending over the next decade compared with projections before the law was passed, according to government figures released Thursday.

The report by federal number-crunchers casts fresh doubt on Democrats’ argument that the health-care law would curb the sharp increase in costs over the long term, the second setback this week for one of the party’s biggest legislative achievements.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that insurance companies have proposed rate increases ranging from 1% to 9% nationwide that they attribute specifically to new health-law coverage mandates.

These health insurance mandates, which Amendment 63 seeks to protect Colorado from, are driving up health insurance costs for school districts and their employees. If the union can negotiate a better benefits deal, then there may be no harm to their members. But more expensive benefits for the district also may mean fewer employees they can afford to pay.

Unionized teachers and school employees already are all covered by various quality health insurance plans. So I’m curious why NEA would put members’ money in the game (each NEA member’s dues includes a nonrefundable $10 contribution to the Ballot Initiative / Legislative Crises Fund, from which the $50,000 was spent) to fight a measure that, at the least, does nothing to harm their members’ interests.

Add all this to the news that Colorado teachers unions (including the Colorado Education Association and American Federation of Teachers) are giving 99.8 percent of their political funds to Democrats, and you have to scratch your head. Exactly whom are NEA and CEA looking out for? I sometimes criticize the unions for putting their members’ interests ahead of needed reforms to benefit students. But the $50,000 contribution to fight Amendment 63 shows that sometimes there are even some things more important to the NEA than their members’ interests.