I farm at Carrington. The rising cost of health care and health insurance premiums are taking a toll in the countryside. Growing health care costs are adding an additional layer of stress and debt for farm families struggling to make ends meet in a farm economy that is already in crisis.

This year’s debt-to-asset ratio is the highest the agriculture industry has seen in 30 years. Spouses taking off-farm jobs to provide health insurance for their families no longer covers the cost. And yet the most recent bill in Congress, the Graham-Cassidy bill, would mean $211 million less for healthcare in North Dakota because it would block grant healthcare spending to the states. That would be devastating not only for our farmers and ranchers, but also for our rural communities and health care facilities!

Lawmakers in D.C. need to stop the health care games and do their job. They can start by preventing insurers from cherry picking the most profitable marketplaces, which leaves many of us in rural areas with little or no choice of insurer options. Americans need affordable, accessible and quality health care … and we need it now.

Ellen Linderman, Carrington

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