WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling June 28 upholding President Obama’s health care legislation, which includes a requirement that all people have health insurance. That same day the nation’s largest agricultural organization voiced its apprehension.
“Farmers, ranchers and rural residents need affordable and accessible health care. We remain concerned that mandating individuals and businesses to buy insurance will impose an expense that creates economic hardship, particularly for self-employed individuals and small businesses,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Stallman noted that Farm Bureau historically has supported market-based reforms as the best way to control costs and increase options for individuals and businesses that purchase health insurance. “The plan reviewed by the Supreme Court would impose a new financial burden on our members,” he said. “As the legal and political interpretation of this ruling is further analyzed and debated in the weeks and months ahead, it is important to remember that access to affordable health care eludes many American families across the country.”
Moving forward, Stallman said, “Farm Bureau will encourage Congress and the president to work together to address concerns on this issue, which affects millions of small business owners and individuals throughout rural America.”
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, a state affiliate of AFBF, has in recent years monitored developments in federal health care legislation and shared them with its members. The VFBF membership includes about 38,000 farm households.
“While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does have provisions that will benefit rural Virginians, such as increased funding for rural hospitals, Virginia Farm Bureau has remained opposed to the legislation,” said Trey Davis, VFBF assistant director of governmental relations. “It does not get to the root of the health care problem for our producer members, which is a need for price controls on skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs and a need for more doctors in rural areas.”
In the coming year, Davis said, “we look forward to engaging our representatives in the General Assembly to ensure that Virginia farmers’ health care needs are addressed in the implementation of the PPACA.”
Contact Davis at 804-290-1017; or Tracy Taylor Grondine, 202-406-3642, or Mace Thornton, 202-406-3641, AFBF public relations.