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Dear Sen. Baucus:

Help! I'm showing symptoms of a new pathology called chronic health care reformatosis. I've got cold sweats and trouble sleeping. Could be my sinuses are acting up, too. Getting H1N1 would clarify things and clear up sooner.

I'm having trouble seeing where health care reform will take our industry. I believe we've got to do something, but I need your help in understanding what it could mean to construction. 

To get a sense of the problems of your proposed health care reform, you only have to read Fortune Magazine's Shawn Tully writing about how your health care reform bill could inspire big employers to drop health plans and place big burdens on the U.S. middle class. Tully's analysis is based on the Chairman's Mark on your Senate Finance Committee bill.

Far be it from me to carry out such a rapid analysis.

What I want to know about health care reform is this:

  •  Will it close the health insurance coverage gap between open-shop and union trade workers? That would in some ways make nonunion employers more competitive in more markets and at least get better coverage to workers whose insurance probably lapses (or requires a big payment by the person who is covered) depending on how long they are employed by one company during a year.
  •  Will it penalize the union workers' generally good health care coverage, which from what I gather must be worth at least $12,000 a year in premiums contributed by the employers and the workers?
  •  Will the proposed reforms reduce the swelling costs of medical care for everybody so that it eats up a smaller piece of our economy? (In my family, we usually cut swelling by cutting down on this stuff.)

Because I know you are so busy, Senator, I'm copying everyone in the construction industry on this letter. If they shed any light on the subject, I'll be sure to let you know.

Please hurry. Not sure I can last much longer. Especially when those Republican frightmeisters start talking about a menace even worse than H1N1, such as socialism. Wouldn't want to wake up one morning and find I'm a prisoner in a woolly headed Soviet-style dystopia, like, say, England. Better to tough it out in a free society, even if you have to wait two months to see a specialist. 

Meanwhile, I'll take an Aleve.


Richard Korman

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