Health Care Reform

I am about to do two things I swore I wouldn’t do with this blog. 1. post something political. 2. post something to do with my work, other than my work as a writer.

I have many reasons for both but this morning I found out that an amendment has been added to the onerous Health Care Reform bill that will single out the construction industry. While all small businesses under 50 employees are to be exampt from the fines that are going to cripple small business in America, construction business are only going to be exempt if they are under 5 employees. I haven’t seen many construction companies with fewer than five employees. So it’s pretty much all of us.  I wrote a letter to my congressmen explaining my position.

This is what I wrote:

Dear Senator,

I am writing regarding the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3590, which excludes the construction industry from the small business exemption contained in the bill. H.R. 3590 exempts employers with fewer than 50 employees from the fines levied on those who cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees.  However the Manager’s Amendment singles out the construction industry by altering the exemption so that it applies to only those firms with fewer than five employees.

As a contractor in Reno, Nevada I have been hit hard by this recession and the accompanying lack of new projects. I have struggled and persevered up to this point by bidding jobs at or even under cost, to keep myself and my employees working. I currently employee forty Nevadans, down from close to two hundred a few short years ago. I consider myself responsible for these men and women, and also their families. I know my employee’s spouses, their children and grandchildren. Every person I have had to lay off due to this economy has been a knife in my heart. 

I have had to cut benefits; Christmas bonuses, holiday pay, vacations, insurance, retirement and wages just to stay in business and keep the few employees I have left out of the unemployment line. Times are hard; I understand that, I also know that it will not always be so, but in order to make it back to recovery I have had to make some soul wrenching decisions. As a business owner I have a choice, I can make the hard decisions, keep as many people as I can working for as long as I can or I can give up, close the doors and join my people in the unemployment line.

I have watched several of my competitors and colleagues go out of business already, companies just like mine, full of good hardworking Nevadans.  My office is clogged with men looking for work, our phone rings constantly with people, good people, people who I would hire in a heart-beat if I had the work for them. I do not want to add my people to their number. I wasn’t able to pay a Christmas bonus this year but my employees had work, they had a paycheck and they have their pride, which is more than most people in the construction industry have this year.

Senator I am fighting to keep these men employed. I cannot do that if I am unfairly singled out and forced to pay the fines as laid out in H.R. 3590. When times were good I provided my employees with the best health care I could afford, among countless other benefits. When the economy recovers and I rise above 50 employees again I might be able to afford the health care but right now I simply cannot. This amendment will result in the destruction of my business and the businesses of countless other construction companies in Nevada that are struggling to get by just like I am.

I urge you to address this provision that will result in the destruction of so many lives and livelihoods in our state.

Thank You

Lystra Pitts

As you can see I feel quite strongly about this, so I am breaking my own rules. I would ask that anyone who reads this take a moment and write their senator and request that the amendment detailed in my letter be removed.

Thanks

Lystra

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Published in: on December 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm  Comments Off on Health Care Reform  
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