As the U.S. House prepares to vote on a farm bill that continues Republicans’ push to encourage subpar health plans, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:
“By including a provision encouraging association health plans, the House farm bill has become the latest vehicle for Republican attacks on health care and people with pre-existing conditions. The bill authorizes $65 million in taxpayer funding to set up association health plans, which can exclude prescription drug coverage, mental health care, and maternity care. When these plans fail, they leave people who thought they had real coverage out in the cold. Hardworking Americans shouldn’t bet the farm on association health plan coverage.”
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has warned that association health plans “provide inadequate benefits and insufficient protection to consumers” and “threaten the stability of the small group market.”
Subpar coverage and a lack of pre-existing condition protections pose a particularly large risk for agricultural workers because of the dangers of the profession. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the injury rate for agricultural workers is over 40 percent higher than the national workplace injury rate overall.
And as Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), wrote during last year’s repeal drive: “The Medicaid expansion has proven especially beneficial to rural communities, where the rate of enrollment is higher than in urban America, and the ACA’s system of tax credits and premium subsidies helps young farmers access insurance while enabling established farmers to maintain consistent coverage.”