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WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that would cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, lessen protections for those with preexisting conditions, and adversely affect family farmers and rural Americans.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response:

“NFU has long advocated for the right to affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans. Because AHCA would both hinder access to health insurance for millions of people as well as drastically impair the effectiveness and affordability of rural healthcare, we are deeply disappointed by today’s House vote to approve the bill. We urge the Senate to reject this legislation.

“NFU came out in strong opposition to AHCA when it was first introduced in March. Many of the issues from the original legislation persist; the bill would still cap Medicaid, disproportionately affecting rural Americans who enroll in Medicaid at higher rates, and whose hospitals rely more on the program than their urban counterparts. The bill would also base subsidies on a person’s age, adversely affecting younger farmers, while dramatically easing restrictions on what companies can charge older farmers.

“Since failing to pass the original AHCA, House leadership has made the legislation worse by providing even fewer protections for family farmers and rural Americans. The recent MacArthur amendment allows states to apply for waivers for several of the law’s crucial underpinnings. This would be particularly detrimental to individuals with preexisting conditions, as it would allow states to opt out of the community rating system that prevents providers from pricing plans based on health status.

“NFU’s priority for any bill is that it offers coverage for more people rather than fewer. We look forward to working with members of the Senate to defeat this legislation that would fail millions of people, especially family farmers and rural Americans.”

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