HR 2 is “To provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2023, and for other purposes.”
It is common for Congress to bury many topics in a “Must Pass” bill. In the 644 page Farm Bill there are items to change the elements of the Affordable Care Act.
Nestling among crop subsidies and food assistance programs is a provision that supporters say could help provide farmers with cheaper, though less comprehensive, health insurance than what is offered through the Affordable Care Act.
It allots $65 million in loans and grants administered by the Department of Agriculture to aid organizations to establish agricultural-related “association” type health plans. The secretary of Agriculture could grant up to 10 loans of up to $15 million each, starting next year, to existing associations whose members are ranchers, farmers or other agribusinesses.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has warned that association plans “threaten the stability of the small group market” and “provide inadequate benefits and insufficient protection to consumers.” The American Academy of Actuaries has made a strong statement of caution.
A skeptic, Sabrina Corlette, a professor and project director at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, is quoted by Kaiser Health News:
I don’t know that anyone at the Department of Agriculture, with all due respect, knows a darn thing about starting and maintaining a successful insurance company.
Read the 644 page Farm Bill HR 2.
Read the view from National Public Radio