Health care market-based reforms, not government mandates, needed

Created: 4/29/10 (Thu) | Topic: Issues

North Dakota Farm Bureau President Eric Aasmundstad told members of the N.D. Industry, Business and Labor Interim Committee that recently passed health care mandates aren’t going to help farmers and ranchers.

“While agriculture is a business, it is also somewhat unique,” Aasmundstad told the committee during a hearing at the Heritage Center in Bismarck. “We cannot pass on our costs to the consumer. Therefore, we will individually carry the burden of the increased cost of this health care legislation.”

Aasmundstad said other businesses will pass on the cost to consumers, which will increase costs of goods and services – including the price of food and the by-products that are made from ag commodities.

“These costs will also be reflected in the increased input costs for farmers and ranchers,” he pointed out, adding that agriculture will also be subject to tax increases, further decreasing net profit.

“This mandated health insurance program could well be the tipping point that drives some farmers and ranchers out of business – just like it could force other small businesses to close up.”

Aasmundstad said farmers and ranchers need market-based reforms, not costly government mandates.

“Reforms should lower costs and increase choices of private health insurance,” he said. “This legislation will do the opposite.”

Aasmundstad closed with a quote from Thomas Jefferson that he said goes to the heart of not only the health care issue, but many issues facing the country now: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

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