Yesterday Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (Dem) pulled a fast one on small contracting firms. He convinced his party colleagues to help union contractors compete with small contractors, making them carry employee health insurance. He added an amendment to the senate health bill to force contractors, remodelers, small home builders and trades with as little as 5 employees to carry health insurance. No one will say that health insurance isn't important because we all know it is. However, this is discrimination since it only applies to contractors and exempts all other industries who are exempt with 50 or less employees.
Please use the following letter template, supplied by an industry expert, write your Senator and let them know that this is unacceptable.
Use this link to find your senator; In Mass write to Senators Kerry and Kirk: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MA
Dear Senator _______________,
I'm writing to you as the owner of a residential remodeling firm, trade company and (Member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), NAHB or other association.
Late yesterday, we became aware that Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) added an amendment to the Health Care Bill, which is slated for fast track passage in the US Senate.
The last minute amendment unfairly targets small construction companies by mandating the provision of health insurance if more than 5 workers are employed and $250,000 in annual payroll expenses exist. All other small businesses, outside of construction, would be exempt from providing mandatory health coverage if they employ 50 workers or less.
We are very concerned that many of our fellow contractors or trades, who are struggling in the current economy, will not have the capacity to comply with this mandate. We are concerned that this mandate could potentially kill more jobs and further harm construction firms business.
Construction firms are currently scrambling to educate and prepare for compliance with stiff new EPA regulations regarding lead containment. This is a large enough issue for small contracting firms. Requiring them to provide health care will definitely put many out of business and put more in the unemployment line. Please remove this unfair provision from the bill.
Sincerely, (YOUR NAME HERE)
As more information becomes available, The Contractor Coaching Partnership will report new developments here. Stay tuned we're committed to helping contractors in the residential construction industry.