NRCA opposes unfair treatment of construction industry in health reform bill
NRCA has called on the U.S. Senate to drop a provision in the health care reform bill (H.R. 3950) that unfairly excludes the construction industry from a key small-business exemption.
"NRCA is unaware of any justification for singling out construction firms from other employers with respect to health insurance benefits," says Bill Good, 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."
The provision of concern is contained in the almost 400-page-long "manager's amendment" to H.R. 3590 that was unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Dec. 19. The amendment would exclude most construction firms from a small-business exemption contained in the underlying bill that exempts employers with fewer than 50 employees from fines levied on them if they cannot afford to provide their employees with the federal minimum standard of health insurance specified in the bill. Reid’s amendment would alter the small-business exemption so it applies only to construction firms with fewer than five employees. If passed with this amendment, H.R. 3590 would mandate all construction firms with five or more employees to provide health insurance coverage for their employees or face substantial financial penalties.
"This rifle shot provision is an unprecedented assault on construction firms and could very well exacerbate unemployment in our industry," Good says. "A policy change of this magnitude should undergo careful consideration by Congress through the full legislative process, including hearings, rather than slipped into a 2,000-page bill at the last minute. We hope the Senate will remove this unfair burden on the construction industry."
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