The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling a new bill introduced last week by Reps. Charles Boustany, R-La., and Jim Matheson, R-Utah a "major step" for ranchers and small businesses otherwise negatively impacted by healthcare reforms.
The bill, The Jobs and Premium Protection Act of 2013, repeals the health insurance tax (HIT) implemented by the Affordable Care Act, preventing premium increases for small business.
"[The bill] keeps more money in the hands of small business owners and employees instead of levying higher taxes on job creators and American workers," Rep. Boustany said in a statement. "I encourage my colleagues to join in honoring our commitment to protect small businesses and the millions of workers and families depending on them."
Boustany estimates the HIT will cost $100 billion in total and cost each affected family $5,000 in higher premiums.
"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 percent since 2000 and the HIT will impose even more devastating costs on America's farmers, ranchers and small businesses."
AFBF says most farmers don't have enough employees to be self-insured, and instead 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," Stallman says.
Stop the HIT
A coalition to rein in the tax, called Stop the Hit, says the bill will preserve the health and financial security of small businesses across the country.
"We hope members of Congress will join together to fix this unintended consequence of the President's healthcare law and prevent yet another hit to small businesses and the Americans and families they employ," National Federation of Independent Businesses President and CEO Dan Danner said.
Along with AFBF, other coalition members include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Auto Dealers Association and the National Retail Federation.
Other bills to repeal the tax were introduced in the last Congress, but were stalled.