In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Nebraska Farm Bureau outlined the key provisions that should be included in U.S. Senate legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nebraska Farm Bureau sent the letter immediately following Senate action to initiate debate on ACA repeal July 25.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said the letter was sent to ensure there is no question about what actions are needed as Nebraskans will have a watchful eye on the debate in the coming days.
“Americans are losing faith in our government. While agreeing to initiate debate on ACA reform is progress, it means nothing if the Senate fails to take meaningful steps to repeal and replace this clearly flawed legislation that’s causing direct harm to Nebraska farm and ranch families,” said Nelson.
In the letter to Senate leadership, Nelson pointed out the need for swift action to stabilize health insurance markets, offer new opportunities for farmers and ranchers to customize their health insurance, as well as reduce the overall cost of health insurance. Nelson urged that any bill or collection of bills passed by the Senate include the following:
- Repeal of the ACA.
- Establishment of authority for new small business association health insurance plans.
- Elimination of the rating limitation for health insurance providers.
- Elimination of many of the mandatory coverage requirements included in ACA compliant health plans.
- Elimination of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance.
- Elimination of the penalties for employers who do not provide health insurance to employees.
- Creation of a block grant Medicaid program and reduce federal liabilities for the program.
- Expansion of Health Care Savings Accounts.
“Time and again, we receive calls and have had conversations with members who indicate the cost of health insurance has now become either their number one or two family living expense. This is unacceptable and unsustainable,” wrote Nelson. “With Nebraska now only having one health insurance provider in the health insurance exchange market place, it is clear the promises made by the ACA are failing to live up to the expectations. Congress must act and act now to curtail the “death spiral” of our current health insurance marketplace.”