Farm groups react to Supreme Court decision on health care

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 28, 2012- The nation's leading agricultural groups issued statements today regarding their reactions to the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, which includes issuing the individual mandate as a tax.

“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 American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “The plan reviewed by the Supreme Court would impose a new financial burden on our members.”

Stallman said the primary goal of health care reform should be to reduce costs for participants, and that farmers, ranchers and rural residents need affordable and accessible health care.

“Farm Bureau has always supported market-based reforms as the best way to control costs and increase options for people and small businesses that purchase insurance for themselves and their employees,” he said. “Moving forward, we encourage Congress and the President to work together to address our remaining concerns on this issue that affects millions of small business owners and individuals throughout rural America.”

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson supported the Supreme Court's decision, saying the Affordable Care Act “contains significant, necessary reforms that help all Americans.”

“Farmers, ranchers and rural residents face significant barriers to obtaining accessible, affordable health care,” Johnson said. “The ACA contains significant, necessary reforms that help all Americans, including those who are self-employed and purchasing expensive care from the individual market, afford insurance and the preventive care they need; provides resources to rural health care providers and incentives to physicians serving in rural areas; bars health care companies from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions; and closes the Medicare prescription drug coverage ‘donut hole.'

The Supreme Court upheld the entire health care act today, but said that the federal government cannot withhold Medicaid funds from states that don't comply with federal provisions.

"Nothing in our opinion precludes Congress from offering funds under the ACA to expand the availability of health care, and requiring that states accepting such funds comply with the conditions on their use,” according to Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion. “What Congress is not free to do is to penalize States that choose not to participate in that new program by taking away their existing Medicaid funding."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the House will schedule a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act next month.

“On July 11th, the House will once again repeal ObamaCare, clearing the way for patient-centered reforms that lower costs and increase choice,” Cantor said in a statement today.

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