OFU wants bi-partisan ACA fix that stabilizes marketplaces, protects rural hospitals
COLUMBUS – As the U.S. Senate begins the final week before the deadline to vote on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the Ohio Farmers Union has joined its national organization in urging a ‘no’ vote on the measure.
Graham-Cassidy would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act – so-called Obamacare – and replace it with a system of block grants to states and language that many say would weaken current law regarding pre-existing conditions and the basic content of health insurance policies.
“Many family farmers in Ohio buy their own health insurance. Before ACA, that meant high premiums, high deductibles and many times very little coverage,” said OFU President Joe Logan.
“While not perfect by any stretch, Obamacare has in fact led to overall better coverage and more lives insured in Ohio.”
“Congress needs to get about the hard work of fixing the healthcare marketplaces and ensuring we don’t backslide on critical issues like protecting those with pre-existing conditions and securing the Medicaid expansion,” Logan said.
The National Farmers Union has deemed any final vote by the Senate on passage of Graham-Cassidy as one that will be scored on the organization’s legislative scorecard. NFU is also advocating this latest ACA repeal be rejected.
NFU has sent a letter to all members of the Senate on the bill.
“NFU’s member-driven policy ‘affirms the right of all Americans to have access to affordable, quality health care,’” said NFU President Roger Johnson in the letter.
“The Graham-Cassidy bill does not address the barriers that farmers and ranchers face in accessing health coverage, and it would only make matters worse. We urge you to vote no on the legislation.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-OH), has come out against Graham-Cassidy. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, (R-OH), is in the undecided column. OFU sent him a letter asking him to vote vote ‘no.’
“OFU is very concerned about the Graham-Cassidy bill’s effects on the non-group marketplace. The plan would create even more uncertainty in Ohio’s marketplace, driving insurers out of the state and forcing the remaining companies to increase premiums,” wrote OFU’s Logan.
“The loss of marketplace subsidies in 2020 would make the problem even worse. As Governor Kasich has repeatedly called for, we need a bipartisan, common sense approach to fixing unstable marketplaces like Ohio’s.”
“Instead, this bill would leave the Ohio legislature to devise their own market-stabilizing plan in the face of annual budget decreases,” Logan wrote.