“On behalf of 250,000 family farm, ranch and rural resident members of National Farmers Union, I commend Congress for working to pass a health care reform bill that makes health care coverage more accessible and affordable for rural Americans,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “This bill is truly an historic first step toward the universal, comprehensive health care coverage that all Americans, regardless of age, gender, income, occupation or geographic location, deserve.”
As the bill moves through the conference process, National Farmers Union encourages a closer look at the following provisions:
· A publicly-run community health insurance option to substantially increase the availability of healthcare to rural Americans and provide competition in underpopulated areas that have been historically dominated by very few private insurers.
· An end to the exemption from antitrust laws currently granted to health insurance companies, to insure that consumers have the choices provided by a robust, competitive marketplace.
· The ability for self-employed individuals to deduct their health care costs as a business expense before calculating their self-employment tax, similar to how employees pay payroll taxes after their health care costs are deducted from their paycheck.
·Additional financial help for low- and middle-income families, so that rural Americans, who pay more out-of-pocket health care costs than their urban counterparts, can truly afford the insurance coverage they need.
Quality, affordable health care coverage is a moral imperative—a human right—and we cannot wait any longer for change. NFU stands ready to work with members of Congress throughout the conference process to ensure passage of a final bill that truly considers the interests of all Americans.
Source: National Farmers Union