Like many Americans, I was glued to the television last night watching President Obama’s State of the Union address. It’s always interesting to see how national political topics have a resounding impact on small businesses, especially small independently-owned HVAC and sheet metal companies.

Putting all political partisanship behind, it struck me how long we have been talking about health care reform. Whether you like the proposed health care bill or not, some kind of reform is very close to passing in the U.S. Congress.

Over two years ago, I wrote an article about association health plans. Industry associations such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association supported this plan. It would allow these associations to use its members in an effort to band together and purchase more affordable health care plans. When I wrote that article, I spoke with several HVAC company employees. The stories I heard were eye opening.

There are so many HVAC and sheet metal company owners who can’t afford to give their employees an adequate health care plan. Deductibles and premiums keep going up. Employees that work hard every day are going bankrupt because of medical problems their insurance company won’t cover.

When I wrote that article two years ago, it was difficult to see how much trouble some HVAC companies were in. This country still doesn’t have any comprehensive health care reform. I’m curious to hear from more company owners and employees. What have you done to take care of your employees and make sure that they are getting the health coverage they deserve? Tell me what you are looking for in a health care plan. Whatever plan comes out of Congress, I just hope that working people will get their due.