Two construction associations are speaking out against last-minute changes to the Christmas Eve-passed Senate version.
As Congress attempts to reconcile bills overhauling
the U.S. health care industry, two construction associations are speaking out
against last-minute changes to the Christmas Eve-passed Senate version.
The provision exempting small businesses with less
than 50 workers from fines if they do not provide health insurance was altered
so that most construction firms - but not other types of businesses - face
penalties if they have five or more workers, according to statements by the
National Association of Home Builders and National Roofing Contractors
"NRCA is unaware of any justification for singling out
construction firms from other employers with respect to health insurance
benefits," said Bill Good, the NRCA's executive vice president.
"Given that unemployment in our industry currently exceeds 18 percent,
this provision is particularly ill-timed and could have devastating consequences
for roofing contractors and their employees. It's simply outrageous.”
NAHB Chairman Joe Robson was similarly upset.
"This narrow provision is an unprecedented
assault on the construction industry and unjustly targets an industry trying to
keep its doors open during the worst housing downturn since the Great
Depression," said Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. "If this
provision were to be enacted into law, it would prove to be catastrophic for
the home building industry. In short, this is a true jobs killer. Thousands of
small builder firms struggling to stay afloat could go under.”
Congressional leaders hope to send a final bill to President Barack Obama by the end of January.
NRCA, NAHB upset with Senate health care bill
January 7, 2010