We Hear You! Letters from our readers

January 9, 2013 04:14 AM

Farm Women for Health Care

I read with interest John Phipps’ article in the December 2012 Top Producer. He concluded that the Obamacare law would be good for farm families because everyone would be able to get affordable health care without having to worry about pre-existing conditions. Therefore, many farm women who work for health insurance would be able to quit their jobs and come home to farm.

This all sounds mighty good, but I believe he may have overlooked a couple of things, like who is going to pay for all these people coming into the system. Perhaps he has not seen the news that everyone covered under an insurance plan will have to pay $63 each to help cover the cost of people with pre-existing conditions. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to surprises in this health care plan. Maybe farm women will have to go back to work to pay for the increased premiums and hidden fees to support all the people who are to be covered but can’t afford to pay for it themselves.

Carol Freund
Walcott, IA

John Phipps responds: Thank you for reading my work and responding. I am aware of the $63 annual increase for all those covered (which will decrease after 2016), but since the Affordable Care Act (which you refer to as Obamacare) is net positive for the deficit according to the Congressional Budget Office, some revenue increases are required. Interestingly, this fee will also apply to those who can now buy insurance, raising their costs as well. In addition, this bump is dwarfed by the cost of failing to get insurance. Those who have clamored about "free riders" and offered emergency rooms as the answer have not done the math on what our current system costs.

Really—farm women going back to work for $63 per year additional costs? The other "surprises" are not really news to those of us who weren’t counting on repeal. I have studied the legislation for two years and think the results will actually tend to be more positive for all Americans.

There are other tax increases as well, but I for one feel it is a reasonable price to be paid for the U.S. to finally join with all other developed nations where access to health care is open to all.

Obamacare Upside

John, from time to time, I am compelled to comment. Your piece on the new health care law got my attention. I have been very critical of the legislation, the way it was passed, and the  uncertainty of its future. However, your positive angle has caused me to consider some of its upsides.

Thanks for your cheerful insight. I think, since I can’t do anything about it anyway, I’ll take your advice and look for the good in it. As you suggest, there may be quite a bit.

We young guys sure don’t know everything, but it was fun when we did! Always a pleasure to read your point of view. Thanks again,

Roy Benjamin
Shelby, MT

Oil Boom Misleading

I just read your November 2012 article about the oil boom in the Great Plains. For the most part you have a good article, but one sentence leaves a lot to be clarified. In "The Land of Oil" you state, "Once oil is flowing, the owner can receive royalties of 18% to 22% per barrel." This is misleading. I live and farm in the center of the Bakken play, and I’m blessed to have a few minerals.

In North Dakota about 67% of the mineral acres are owned by people not living here, the state or the federal government. The typical unit for a horizontal oil well is now 1,280 acres. If you were blessed to own or buy one mineral acre under an oil well and oil was $100 per barrel, you had a royalty lease of 20%, and the well was producing 300 barrels of oil per day, it would look like this: 300 barrels × $100 × 30 days/mo. = $900,000/mo. × 20% = $180,000 to be divided by the 1,280 owners. Thus, each mineral acre owner would get about $140 and after taxes about $100/mo.

The idea that this oil play could be creating 2,000 millionaires a year is wrong. It will be those individuals who were blessed to own many minerals year after year. Sincerely,

Rolf Gjorven
Williston, ND

Editor’s Note: We welcome your letters and opinions regarding Top Producer articles. E-mail your letters to jbernick@farmjournal.com or call your opinion in to our reader comment line at (800) 292-3276. Letters and comments may be edited for clarity or space. Past Top Producer articles are available online at www.TopProducer-Online.com. Click on the "Magazine" tab and select the issue you wish to review.

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