“We won’t be able to continue to offer (health insurance plans) without changes to the law,” he said.
Resnick said agriculture needs an exemption from the law to continue to offer affordable health insurance plans to their workers.
Currently, Resnick said about 130,000 farm employees and their dependents have health care insurance from their employers in California and Arizona. About 83,000 farm employees and their dependents are offered coverage through Western Growers alone, he said.
“What’s going to happen is that farm workers who are currently receiving group health insurance from their employers will lose that coverage and won’t be able to afford coverage on thier own and they won’t be eligible to receive it through the exchange,” Resnick said. “Their health care claims are going to be paid for by public dollars.”
Nassif said it appears that health insurance rates cannot go anywhere but up and make health care less affordable and less desirable for Western Growers members to provide.
Legislation is needed on the federal level that deals with undocumented and seasonal workers, Nassif said. “The law was designed for people who work 8 to 5 in offices and not for people who were going to have a different employer every couple of weeks or every couple of months,” he said.
Nassif said that Republicans and Democrats need to come together to fix the health care legislation and make implementation of the law fair, economical and achieve the purposes of making sure people get affordable health care. “We have a limit on how long the negotiations to reforming this law can take before it is too late,” he said.
Most mandates for employers on health insurance don’t kick in until 2014, but next year will be a big year for business to prepare for the law, Gasperini said.