With the House nearing a critical health-care vote, construction is keeping a watchful eye on whether one controversial provision survives. That provision, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), would require small contractors to provide health coverage or pay a penalty. The language is in the health-care bill the Senate passed. If the House does not remove the provision in an anticipated “corrections” measure, it could become law.
Merkley’s proposal has split the industry. Groups such as the Associated Builders and Contractors and Associated General Contractors want to see the language removed; unions and their allies want to keep it in the final bill.