Senate Passes Health Care Bill, Includes Harmful Amendment
issued a statement
in response to an amendment included in the Senate health care bill that
singles out small construction firms for harsher treatment than any other
industry. On December 21, the Senate voted 60-40 on the first of a series of
votes that will allow passage of its health care bill, the Patient Protection
and Affordable Care Act, by 7pm on December 24. Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
announced Saturday that he would support the package, allowing the democrats to
reach the critical 60 votes needed to pass its plan. The House and Senate will
conference the bill in January with the goal of reaching a final package before
the president’s State of the Union address.
Issues of Concern to AGC
The new provision forces
construction firms employing as few as five workers to pay health care coverage
fees, despite the fact that employers with fewer than 50 workers that do not
offer coverage are exempt from fines that apply to larger employers.
In addition, the
Senate proposal fails to reduce health care costs to employers or the federal
government. The employer mandate and its per employee fee placed on firms offering
coverage is also a concern, as well as the new Medicare payroll tax, new
burdensome corporate reporting requirements, the lack of any meaningful medical
liability reform, the lack of a waiting periods (30 day period with penalties
afterward) and a failure of the bill to reduce premiums for employers.
Public Support for Bill Wanes
The more that the
bill is debated the more unpopular it gets. A new WSJ/NBC News poll shows 44
percent of Americans say status quo is better than passing current proposal
compared with 41 percent of Americans who said it's better to pass the plan. In
early October, 45 percent of respondents preferred passing a bill, while 39
percent preferred passing no bill. Uninsured people were among those who've grown
less supportive of the plan. Also, 32 percent think the President’s plan is a
good idea vs. 47 percent that think it’s a bad idea. A new poll by Rasmussen
shows 58 percent of Floridians opposed to current reform proposal. The
Democrats are even losing their base. The politically powerful Service
Employees International Union backed out of a Wednesday news conference at
which it and other groups -- including the AARP -- planned to promote the bill.
Read coverage of the harmful amendment here.
information, contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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