It may not be front and center in agriculture like the farm bill discussion is, but farmers have a lot to worry about as Congress debates the future of health care. Politico’s Morning Ag Report says farmers have been struggling for some time with low commodity prices and a sharp drop in farm income.
In turn, that’s led to a push on promoting exports and shoring up the farm safety net. But the concern in rural America about health care has never been higher, even though roughly 90 percent of farmers currently have health insurance. Most farmers get their health insurance through off-farm employment, something they have to have because farming is a dangerous occupation.
A new university-led survey shows just how much farmers are concerned about the high cost of health care. Nearly half of them are worried they might have to sell off land or other assets to help pay for the cost of health care. National Farmers Union State Presidents met last week in North Dakota. They’ve started hearing so much about health care from their members that the board has bumped it higher on their list of priorities in Washington.