Lopez Continues Commitment To Farm Families

Helps pass bill expanding health care for farm families
October 13, 2007
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I – Schoharie) has announced a new opportunity to provide self-employed farmers with greater access to the Family Health Plus program.

“With the struggles that upstate farmers have been facing, I am eager to see more farm families gain affordable health insurance,” said Lopez. “Currently, many farmers are not eligible for the Family Health Plus program because of the way income is calculated. This bill will correct those calculations to ensure a fair and more accurate measure of farm family income.”

According to the current system, farm families’ income must be below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Many farm families are realistically below this threshold, however, they are deemed ineligible because they must factor in farm machinery as part of their family income.

This legislation, which passed both the Assembly (Assembly Bill A-01301) and Senate (Senate Bill S-1108) during this year’s legislative session, has been signed by the Governor and will become part of New York state law. It will remove depreciated farm business assets from family income when calculating income for the Family Health Plus program.

“Health care remains one of the highest costs of doing business in New York,” said Lopez. “By helping more farmers to utilize the benefits of Family Health Plus we can lighten their financial burden and strengthen our upstate economy.”