March 30th, 2017
What Does the Healthcare Bill Defeat Mean for the Industry?
After just over two months in office, President Trump and GOP leaders found themselves in the unenviable position of pulling their new healthcare bill just minutes before the House was to vote. So what does this mean for our industry in a direct sense and what about other pending changes that stand to benefit the door and window industry?
On the healthcare side, most of the companies with which we are in touch have already made adjustments to comply with Obamacare. Some smaller companies took the approach of delayed hiring to avoid becoming subject to the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Others adjusted benefits so they would be in compliance. A final group leaned into Obamacare, sending their employees in that direction to address their healthcare needs.
In any case, it has been several years since any company in the industry has reported to us that Obamacare was their top concern.
Turning to the issue of other pending legislation, there are those who argue that this defeat indicates a damaged presidency, under which it will be difficult to pass legislation despite having the majority. Of particular interest are such initiatives as increased infrastructure spending, personal and corporate tax reform, and the weakening of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) powers some saw as becoming overly expansive. While healthcare was not a hot-button issue for most, many more industry participants may look forward to most or all of these other changes.
So, can the Trump administration still make these changes happen? Nothing is certain but, at the least, the defeat of the healthcare bill should not be taken as an indication that these other changes won’t happen. The bill was rushed through and was not given sufficient time for legislators to reach consensus. Also, healthcare is a controversial issue with immediate impact on virtually every congressional constituent. Few legislators are likely to be sent packing from Washington if the new approach with the EPA isn’t perfect or corporate rates change by one amount or another.
In short, healthcare is a unique issue, and those involved wanted to make sure to get it right. Lawmakers will all align differently on each of these other pending programs. It should not be taken as an indicator that these other initiatives with benefits for door and window and other building products companies will meet the same fate.