Discussing Health Care Reform

Discussing Health Care Reform

Discussing Health Care Reform. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Over the weekend the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill by a close vote of 220-215.  While most farmers and ranchers will agree that reform is needed, many believe this bill goes about it the wrong way. 

WOLFF: There does need to be work done to get the cost of health care down to make it more affordable and to make sure people everywhere, including people in rural America, have doctors and hospitals.  But health care should not be government-run insurance and it should not be mandates that require people to buy insurance and mandates to require that employers have insurance for their workers. 

American Farm Bureau Health Care Policy Specialist Pat Wolff says Farm Bureau supports private market-based reforms to deal with the big issues facing rural areas.

WOLFF: Rural America has big health care issues.  It’s harder to get health care in rural America.  You have to drive further to find hospitals and doctors and the reimbursement rates under Medicare disadvantage rural areas.  A doctor who works in the country gets paid less than a doctor who practices in an urban area.  So it’s important for health care to address those issues and the bill moving forward did make adjustments to Medicare reimbursement to help rural areas. 

Wolff says the House bill did address reimbursement rates and contained tax credits that would help individuals and small businesses pay for health insurance, but hopes the Senate makes significant changes.

WOLFF: The Senate has an option to make some real changes in health reform. A couple of things are on the table in the Senate that were never considered by the house.  One is creating health care cooperatives that would function like credit unions where individuals could come together and have a new way to get health insurance and it’s one that the senate should adopt.

Bottom line, according to Wolff, is that Farm Bureau is opposed to this health care reform bill.

WOLFF: Farmers and ranchers everywhere care about health care.  They care about how much it costs and they care about whether or not they can get it when they need it.  Over the weekend the House of Representatives took the first step in health care reform and overhauling our nation’s health care system.  Unfortunately they passed a bill that farm bureau couldn’t support.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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