FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2017
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON – In advance of an imminent vote in the U.S. Senate on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s second largest general farm organization is urging members of the Senate to vote against the failed legislation.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today wrote to members of the U.S. Senate, calling on them to drop ACA “repeal and replace” efforts and instead focus on writing fixes to the ACA that provide Americans with accessible, affordable, quality healthcare.
“The cost of health care has long been a primary concern of farmers and ranchers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “While there is certainly room for improvements to current policy, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act both ignore the needs of family farmers and ranchers. NFU urges you to vote no on either piece of legislation and to seek a common sense, bipartisan solution to improve our nation’s health care system.”
Johnson noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a step in the right direction. It installed a system of tax credits and premium subsidies that allows many farmers to maintain consistent coverage, and it expanded Medicaid to the benefit of rural communities and hospitals.
“Yet, our current healthcare system is not without problems,” he said. “Many farmers and ranchers continue to face high premiums, and the Health Insurance Marketplace needs stabilization. However, the BCRA would leave many rural Marketplaces without a single insurer. Worse yet, completely repealing the ACA would leave nearly three-quarters of the population without a single insurer in the non-group market.”
Johnson also echoed previous concerns that NFU has highlighted about the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). All of the proposed bills would cause at least 20 million Americans to lose coverage, significantly cut Medicaid, eliminate or weaken protections for individuals with preexisting conditions, and put rural hospitals in jeopardy of closure. These proposals will lead to significant increases in uncovered health expenses.
“Unfortunately, the repeated attempts to reform our health care system have not taken into account the needs of farmers, ranchers and rural Americans. Both the Better Care Reconciliation Act and Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act would limit access, increase costs, and lower the quality of health care coverage for family farmers and ranchers. We urge you to vote no on both bills in any form,” said Johnson.
To download an audio file of Roger Johnson’s quotes, visit our website at nfu.org/audio.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.