Ellmers reintroduces Fairness to Farmers Act

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)  reintroduced the Fairness for Farmers Act of 2015 on Tuesday, legislation that would exempt farmers across the nation from the Obamacare mandate of providing health insurance coverage for businesses that employ 50 or more full-time workers.

“While unintended consequences of Obamacare continue to surface, the employer mandate is just one of many that is directly impacting those in the Second District of North Carolina,” Ellmers explained. “This time around, it is farmers who bear the burden, as many will be forced to comply with additional out-of-pocket fees, which result in higher overhead costs and cuts to their hard-earned profit.”

Under the Obamacare law, employers with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide health insurance to all workers or pay a penalty. The mandate currently includes seasonal immigrant agricultural workers on H-2A visas in its calculation.

The opinion of many legislators whose constituent base reside in rural farming communities is that subjecting farmers to the Obamacare employer mandate will have a detrimental effect on the industry. 

“In order to ease concerns and prevent a subsequent rise in the cost of food, I have reintroduced the Fairness to Farmers Act,” Ellmers said. “As agriculture remains a leading industry in North Carolina, it is essential that we do everything possible to protect our farmers from burdensome government fines and unreasonable penalties.”

 Elmer reintroduced the bill along with Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), David Rouzer (R-NC), Walter Jones (R-NC), Robert Hurt (R-VA), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Scott Tipton (R-CO).

“Farming is a way of life in Kentucky,” Whitfield said. “It is important for our farmers to have the stability and certainty they need to do their jobs.  Adding health care costs or penalties would only make farming operations more challenging and contribute to rising food prices for families across Kentucky and the U.S. Obamacare has been a disastrous policy, and I am committed to working with my colleagues to advance legislation that actually reforms our health care system and ensures Americans access to quality care unfettered by broken promises.”