AED: Health Care Bill Discriminates Against Construction Industry

The Associated Equipment Distributors, Oak Brook, Ill., recently commented on the health care bill, saying it discriminates against the construction industry. 

In the course of negotiations over the final health care bill, Senate Democratic leaders consented to the inclusion of language that singles out the construction industry for harsher treatment than any other sector of the economy, the AED said in an article on its website.

The Senate bill requires companies with 50 or more workers to either help their employees obtain health insurance or pay penalties. However, new language included in the bill would lower that mandate's threshold to five employees for companies whose "substantial annual gross receipts … are attributable to the construction industry."

The AED calls the amendment a “blatant handout to organized labor.” Unions and contractors employing unionized workers assert that non-unionized contractors would have an advantage in the bidding process because they don't have to provide health insurance to employees (or pay the required fines) and because most construction firms employ fewer than 50 employees. As written, the AED said it's so vague that it could be read to include equipment distributors, equipment manufacturers, material suppliers, and even construction industry trade associations.

The Senate passed the health care legislation on Dec. 24, and AED has recommended that industry members make their voices known on the issues. To send a message to members of your congressional delegation, visit http://capwiz.com/aedaction/issues/alert/?alertid=14489131.