The White House this week announced it would delay by one year a provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to provide health insurance for their employees, a move the American Farm Bureau applauded Wednesday.
AFBF President Bob Stallman said farmers have been confused from the start about their obligations under the ACA because they employ a workforce that is both seasonal and transitory.
The one-year delay, he said, "will allow the administration to streamline the process for complying and provide farm employers with the information they need to follow the law."
Business groups have lobbied for elimination or delayed implementation of the "employer mandate" citing reporting problems, burdensome provisions and potential for limiting job creation.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue said the delay will "help avoid some serious near-term economic consequences of (the ACA)."
Citing the similar concerns of the Chamber and other business groups, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett outlined in a notice the changes that the ACA will undergo: 1) a suspension of reporting until 2014; and 2) allowing more time to comply by not collecting employer responsibility payments for 2014.
Jarrett explained that the reporting suspension came about on concerns that new data collection systems and coordination would be needed to achieve the requirements of the law. And, because detailed reporting may be unnecessary for some businesses, "we will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system," she noted.
The changes will also require more time to comply, Jarrett explained, because employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on new reporting. Thus, the payments will not be collected in 2014, allowing employers time to test new reporting regulations.
Stallman praised the White House for addressing the concerns of the business community, noting, "we commend the administration for addressing this issue and look forward to simpler direction so that farm employers will know what they have to do to comply with this law."