Last Friday, a letter was sent to President Obama from The National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association along with many other construction related organizations urging him not to include the Merkley Amendment to the Senate-approved health reform bill.
The Merkley amendment would mandate that construction firms with at least five employees must offer required level of health insurance, as opposed to the usual threshold of fifty employees in other industries. The overall argument against the amendment in the letter (link below) is that this provision is entirely unnecessary, since workers’ compensation insurance already covers workplace injuries and illnesses as well as lost wages. This amendment will require small construction firms, which make up the majority of the construction industry, to pay out costs that they cannot possibly afford, especially in this economic climate.
If the Merkley amendment to the bill becomes law, the construction industry is going to lose a great many more businesses. They have already had to lay off millions of construction workers in the past few years to simply stay in business. What the industry, and the country, needs is reform in the private healthcare sector, and not an expensive mandate that will bring more unnecessary cost to the already struggling construction industry.
Read the letter here: Industry Letter Regarding Merkley Amendment