Contact Congress On Health Care Reform

Western Growers is calling on all members to take action and implore their Representatives and Senators to consider agriculture’s needs before casting a vote for the current healthcare reform legislation. The White House and Congressional leaders are working to put together healthcare reform compromise legislation that would involve the House passing the Senate version of healthcare reform and then both chambers passing changes to that bill through a procedure called reconciliation. It is likely that Congressional leadership will be finalizing legislative language by next week, with action to follow in the weeks ahead. The economic and administrative challenges of an employer mandate to provide health coverage to all workers will affect agricultural employers in ways not addressed by current legislation. Production agriculture is primarily a seasonal business with most crops cultivated and harvested by seasonal, migratory farm employees. The production agriculture workforce is associated with very high turnover. Current legislation treats agriculture as though it were any other business. Affordability, coverage coordination, compliance with COBRA, and even questions about workforce immigration status are hurdles that must be addressed in any healthcare legislation. These issues and the livelihoods of our members are far too critical to entrust to the discretion of a future Health Exchange Commissioner. In January, Congressmen Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa and Sam Farr sent a letter to Congressional leaders expressing concerns with the lack of consideration given to agriculture. Western Growers is urging its members to do the same. Western Growers asks you to reach-out to your member of Congress and Senators at this time, letting them know that the current healthcare reform legislation does nothing to address the unique needs of agricultural employers. Please click here to contact your Representatives and Senators. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact WG’s Ken Barbic (KBarbic@wga.com) at 202-296-0191.