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Published August 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Letter - Runaway crop insurance costs

I ask Minnesota to focus on the $471 million in federal tax dollars secured by our congressional delegation and used to reduce crop insurance premiums on the 2008 crop.

To the editor:

I ask Minnesota to focus on the $471 million in federal tax dollars secured by our congressional delegation and used to reduce crop insurance premiums on the 2008 crop. This federal subsidy paid 56 percent of the crop insurance premium on crops grown by Minnesota farmers and averaged $28.42/acre. So, if the average crop mix was grown on 160 acres, the Minnesota farmer received $4,547 or if he farmed 1,600 acres, his premium was reduced by $45,470. Which means, if we treated uninsured families in Minnesota the same way Congress treats 160 acres of Minnesota crops, we could give more than 103,000 Minnesota families $4,547 annually to buy health insurance.

A big part of the debate nationally in health care is runaway costs. Yet see how Congress failed to address runaway federal crop insurance costs, even after the value of America’s insured crops jumped from $44 billion in 2005 to $90 billion on the 2008 crop. Washington still lacked a leader to step forward and say, “Farmers, when your crops double in value, you can pay all your own insurance premium costs without subsidies.”

So as a citizen’s lobbyist, I ask you to bring these numbers to the health care debate now raging in Minnesota. So the political discussions at congressional forums, county fairs and the “Great Minnesota Get Together” can be productive for the state’s uninsured.

Alan Roebke

Alexandria, MN

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