Changes to health care, dairy policies approved

IFB Health Care Working Group to continue exploring options for members over next year.

Delegates listen to policy debate during IFB's Annual Meeting on Monday. (Photo by Catrina Rawson) 

By Deana Stroisch

Delegates strengthened Illinois Farm Bureau’s health care policy, supporting new language that expands use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA).

The proposal, suggested by the Local and State Government Strength With Advisory Team, supports eliminating caps on HSAs and using them to pay for premiums and over-the-counter medicine. It also supports making the savings accounts available to anyone.

Also during the meeting, Vice President Brian Duncan presented recommendations of IFB’s Health Care Working Group. The advisory group will continue to study the issue.

“There is no silver bullet, friends, and no quick answers,” Duncan said.

The focus on health care stems from a Sense of the Delegate Body Resolution approved at IFB’s Annual Meeting in 2017. The resolution, introduced by Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall and Will counties, called on the IFB Board of Directors to identify affordable health care options for members and provide a report to delegates at this year’s annual meeting.

Delegates also took the following action during the policy session:

- Approved new pesticide applicator language stating any new training requirements added during the term of a five-year license will be considered new endorsements, and not trigger testing for an overall new license. The proposal also supports continuation of research that identifies optimum timing for application and farmer participation in Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act registration discussions on products important to Illinois agriculture.

- Supported changes to the dairy marketing policy to include a “flexible supply management system” and align the policy with American Farm Bureau Federation policy.

- Approved new language supporting research into the delivery location, pricing and other factors associated with grain marketing so farmers can receive the best possible price for their crop.