Legislation introduced in the House last week is a major step for farmers, ranchers and small businesses that would otherwise be negatively impacted by healthcare reform, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The Jobs and Premium Protection Act of 2013, introduced by Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Jim Matheson (D-UT), would repeal the Health Insurance Tax (HIT).
“The cost of health insurance is a major concern for farmers and ranchers,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Health insurance costs already have gone up more than 100% since 2000 and the HIT will impose even more devastating costs on America’s farmers, ranchers, and small businesses.”
A recent Congressional Budget Office report confirms that the HIT Tax “would be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage.” The new tax would raise insurance costs even more, making it harder for farmers and ranchers to purchase coverage for themselves, their families, and their employees.
“Most farmers and ranchers do not have large enough pools of employees to be self-insured,” continued Stallman. “Instead, they purchase health insurance in the fully insured market, from which it is solely determined how much HIT an insurance company must pay. Because of this, the cost of this erroneous tax will be passed through to small businesses that purchase those plans.”
The HIT was passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). According to AFBF, it has nothing to do with reforming the health care insurance system but was included in PPACA as a way to raise revenue to offset the cost of the legislation. During 2014, the first year that the HIT takes effect, $8 billion dollars will be collected.