The American Farm Bureau Federation is concerned about the impact that mandates and new taxes contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would have on America's farm and ranch families. On Tuesday, the organization asked members of the House to vote for H.R. 6079, also known as the Repeal of Obamacare Act.
"Farmers and ranchers, along with all Americans, are part of a broken health insurance marketplace with limited options and high costs," AFBF's letter to the House stated. "Of particular concern are provisions that increase expenses through mandated insurance coverage for individuals and employees and provisions that impose new taxes like the health insurance tax."
According to AFBF, additional concerns include increases in the cost of health insurance because of mandated benefits, higher Medicare payroll taxes and restrictions on Health Savings Accounts. The letter stated that if left unaddressed, the resulting increase in costs will divert resources away from business growth and expansion to the detriment of our nation's farms and ranches and the production of food, fiber and fuel.
"Farm Bureau believes that health insurance reform is essential, but it must also be workable, sustainable and be balanced against the overall cost of doing business," AFBF's letter said. "Farmers and ranchers need market-based reform that lowers costs and increases choices for private health insurance."
AFBF urged Congress "to pursue health insurance reform legislation that provides for increased competition and choice, preserves a patient's ability to keep his or her health plan, reforms the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful health care spending, protects the doctor-patient relationship, expands incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs and eliminates duplicative government programs.
"Farm Bureau stands ready to work with Congress to develop common-sense, market-based solutions that improve health care delivery and reduce health care costs for our nation's farmers and ranchers. Only a bipartisan process that engages those who provide for their own health insurance can produce the variety of widely-supported solutions needed to reduce health care costs, and increase the number of Americans with access to health care coverage."
The National Farmer's Union has also weighed in on the issue—but they believe the legislation has benefits.
NFU President Roger Johnson said the ACA has a positive effect on American families, and that the House should focus on the Farm Bill instead of voting to repeal the law.
"Precious time on the shrinking legislative calendar for the year must be devoted to legislation such as the farm bill, which will have a real impact on real Americans, both rural and urban. The farm bill is a jobs bill that provides for significant investments in rural America. It also provides a safety net for farmers and ranchers across the country. With the Sept. 30 deadline looming to pass a new farm bill before the current bill expires, there simply is not enough time to fight a battle that has already been fought 30 times before," Johnson said.
Despite costs contained in the Affordable Care Act, the Center For Rural Affairs also believes it is a good plan--read more here.