One item left unanalyzed as the healthcare discussion raged was the impact on the construction & other trades businesses. Scenario: Small trades business does not have healthcare for employees (heard this on local radio) Likely result: Business owner will "fire" all employees then bring them back as independent contractors, avoiding the penalty of providing insurance. The tax: Some independent contractors now opt to pay the fine in MA ($300-$700) rather than take on the cost of health insurance. They'll now either pay a higher rate of at least $2000 -- it's possible they'll have to pay both fines. So in an already bad climate for these folks, there's even more money out of their pocket.