Lack of Movement on Healthcare Reform Disappointing to Rural Americans


Rural America was most disappointed when Congress left town for their August recess without any movement on healthcare reform.  President & CEO of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, Larry Wooten says that was a big disappointment to rural Americans:

“Well, as I travel from one side of the state to the other, we can talk about weather, we can talk about crop conditions, we can talk about crop prices, all those things, but ultimately for our farmers, our independent business people, it’s going to get back to the cost of health care.  That is a major cost for independent businesses, farmers, our rural families, they’re caught out here in this individual market that continues to escalate at 30 to 40% a year, and it’s just unsustainable.  So, that’s why we were hoping that at least congress would begin give some direction on health care, which it didn’t and we’re still hung with this Affordable Care Act that certainly is a positive for some folks, but for others it’s a real drain.”

It really is.  And all of the votes were right straight down party lines, which I know as a disappointment, especially to the administration, they were hoping to see some people cross over, but that just didn’t happen.

What do you think it’s going to have to happen to make some positive moves in this arena?

“I think it’s going to take a bi-partisan effort on the part of some people to say ‘we’re going to do what’s good for America, let the politics go on this one.’  Because, if we don’t, I’d agree with the administration that if you look at the continual subsidies required for the Affordable Care Act, there’s going to be a pay day somewhere, and it’s going to implode.

“And that’s what we really need to talk about; health care reform.  All we did with the Affordable Care Act was disrupt a workable health insurance, now we need to talk about the total ball, in terms of health care; doctors costs, hospital costs, liability, frivolous lawsuits, on and on, in addition to health insurance, so it’s gong to take all of us coming together with this.  About 70% of people in this country are covered by insurance from an employer, about 15-20% are covered through a subsidy in the Affordable Care Act, that 15-25% of people in the middle that are in that individual market, those are the ones that are suffering, and that’s our farmers, and our independent business people.”

There’s a lot of people think that ObamaCare as it is today is on the precipice of imploding, as you indicated.  Is that what you think it’s going to take, is just for the whole program to collapse before something happens?

Well, I certainly hope it doesn’t collapse because a lot of people will get hurt.  Everyone thinks that everyone should have access to health insurance, if you have pre-existing conditions, you ought to be covered, etc.  We all think that.  But, the business model that this is based on is not sustainable long-term without a tremendous influx of federal money, or money from somewhere from what’s going on.  The business model is not sustainable long term.”

For more from NC Farm Bureau’s Larry Wooten, visit SFNToday dot com.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.