Is the U.S. Senate’s health care reform bad news for builders?

According to a report in today’s online version of the Denver Business Journal, the amended version of the U.S. Senate’s health reform bill includes a penalty provision for small construction firms that don’t offer insurance to their employees.  Under the original version of the bill, businesses with more than 50 employees would have to pay a $750 per worker penalty to the federal government if any employee purchases employer-subsidized insurance on their own.  Under the amended bill, the threshold number of employees for construction companies is reduced to five employees.  The NAHB has come out to say that this provision, reportedly included at the behest of the AFL-CIO, is not only an unprecedented attack on the housing industry, but could also put many small builders out of business and delay the housing recovery.

Much like the local attacks against builders at the legislature, in the form of construction defect legislation proposed by plaintiffs’ lawyers, this seems to be a direct attack on an industry suffering the greatest downturn in the housing industry since the Great Depression.  Talk about bayoneting the wounded!  The thing that I cannot understand is that if everyone concedes that the housing market must be a big part of a revived economy, if not the driving force of the recovery, why is it that the government seems to do everything it can to frustrate a healthy residential construction industry?

The full article can be found here.  If you would like to discuss the prognosis for construction defect legislation in Colorado during the 2010 legislative session, please contact David M. McLain at (303) 987-9813 or by e-mail at


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