***Editor's Note: John's comments on health care in the September 12-13, 2009 edition of U.S. Farm Report drew plenty of response...below are his comments followed by viewer reaction:
MOST OF THE NEWS HAS BEEN CENTERED ON HEALTH CARE REFORM AND THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. EVEN FARMERS WATCHING FADING MARKETS AND WAITING FOR GOVERNMENT MEASURMENTS ARE PAYING ATTENTION.
THEY SHOULD. IF YOU THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT IT, THE REFORMS BEING DISCUSSED COULD HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON FARMERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
MANY OF US HAVE TO GET HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE AS INDIVIDUALS - AN ORDEAL THAT IS GROWING MORE ARDUOUS EVERY DAY.
IN FACT, ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS SO MANY FARM FAMILIES HAVE ONE SPOUSE WORKING OFF-FARM IS TO FIND A GROUP THAT GUARANTEES SOME KIND OF COVERAGE. ASK ANY ONE WITH DIABETES OF A CHILD WITH ASTHMA.
NOW ADD IN THE PROBLEM OF RECISSION, WHERE COVERAGE IS CANCELLED AFTER A BIG CLAIM DUE TO EVEN TINY OR UNRELATED ERRORS ON THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION.
DESPITE THE HEATED RHETORIC, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT BOTH SIDES OF CONGRESS APPEAR TO AGREE ON NEW REGULATIONS TO END THESE PRACTICES.
HOW TO PAY FOR THEM IS ANOTHER MATTER, BUT THE ODDS ARE THESE PROBLEMS COULD SOON BE EASED.
NOW IMAGINE HOW FARM FAMILIES WOULD CHANGE IF FEAR OF GETTING OR LOSING HEALTH COVERAGE WAS NOT AN EVERYDAY FEAR. I THINK WE WOULD SEE MANY MORE SPOUSES WORKING SIDE BY SIDE, FOR STARTERS.
BUT BETTER STILL, I THINK REMOVING THIS HEADACHE WOULD ENABLE PRODUCERS TO DEAL BETTER WITH THE IMMENSE BUSINESS CHALLENGES AHEAD.
The majority of my co-workers are only there for the healthcare benefits to cover other family members working in the agriculture community or elsewhere or eligible to retire won't for the cost of healthcare premiums, co-pays, deductibles, that all continue to rise. Not to mention the hassle it is to communicate with healthcare insurance companies that continually deny coverage resulting in bankruptcy.
Insurance companies have a monopoly on every aspect of our lives: life, burial, home, auto, to name a few. I am in favor of a single payer healthcare as is in other countries where healthcare has been levitated to a basic human right, not a privilege as in the United States of America.
Michael S. Braniff
My 65-year-old husband loves John. He thinks he should be president. His commentary on health insurance hit home. I'm 64 years old and still working for the insurance. I'd love to be home with him as we farmed together our whole 45yrs of marriage. Thanks for the great show.
I have been watching your Saturday program on RFD television. Your views are very liberal on cap and trade. Texas cattlement do not have any support on any level, the total cost comes out of the individuals pocket. You support national issues only and forget about the everyday cattlman.
The views you air about the environment tells me you are in Al Gore's pocket or that you are on the receiving end of government subsidies, maybe it's both to include national health care. You are supporting national health care by your comments about a man and a woman working side by side on the farm. You are not telling the whole story that is included in the national health care bill. Have you read it? The cost to the country and the cost out of the individuals pocket is not reported by you. If you are going to talk about it, tell the whole truth.
I oppose HR 3200 and HR 2454 because the costs far outweigh the benefits to farmers and ranchers. "Spirit of the Countryside", no I do no think so.
OTHER VIEWER COMMENTS FROM SEPTEMBER 12-13, 2009 PROGRAM:
I have watched your show for a couple years now and more and more have become disenchanted with your format. You constantly babble on about three items, corn, soy beans and subsidy's, it gets really boring. There is so much more out there that you could cover and in the process do a great service for all farmers. Here in New York and I am sure in the State of Washington we are in the height of our apple harvesting season, you never mention that product, New York as I am sure is true of many other states is a major milk producer, dairy farmers have been really struggling and you only occasionally mention that fact.
Not long ago there was a column in the WSJ concerning a cherry farmer in the state of Washington that had to dump more than 70,000 pounds of sour cherries due to an over supplied market, you never covered that story. I could go on and on but by now I am sure you get the picture, there is so much more out there than corn, soy beans and subsidies and oh yes your constant promotion of ethanol. On that subject you should contact companies as Star Brite of Ft. Lauderdale who has done a ton of research concerning the damage ethanol does to our boat engines and the fact we must buy $20 eight ounce additives to combat it's negative effects. Wish you would add a bit to you format.