On Monday Thousands Lose Their Healthcare

McClatchy has an important story reminding that the COBRA subsidy expires on Monday. (h/t Atrios)

Hall, 56, is among an estimated 7 million unemployed Americans who get a federal subsidy to help them buy health insurance under legislation known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

For workers who are laid off or downsized between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009, the COBRA subsidy pays 65 percent of their job-based health insurance premiums for nine months.

That subsidy, however, expires Monday for Hall and untold thousands of others who began receiving it in March, when it first became available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

And while people who have been receiving this subsidy won’t lose their healthcare per se, at a cost of around $700/month for a family, they will no longer be able to afford health care and therefore will choose to go without. And that, I fear, is going to make the large scale long term joblessness in the Midwest a much more painful, because just as more people will be attempting to make do, cities and states are having to cut back on services to balance budgets.

I remember talking to people about this looming date several months ago–it was a moment they were anticipating when their otherwise functional ability to deal with long term unemployment was going to get really bad.

11 replies
  1. tejanarusa says:

    I don’t suppose the current incarnation of the HCR bill includes the extension of COBRA? There was something in one of the bills, wasn’t there? I seem to remember it got eliminated along the way….

  2. PJEvans says:

    I’d like to send the bills to Congress. If they aren’t willing to do their jobs, if they won’t fix problems they know about, then they should pay for their inaction.

    (Wonder what would happen if their own health insurance was cut at the same time.)

  3. brat says:

    This is an utter failure of the executive and legislative branches. better to bail out Wall Street than working folks who got caught in the fallout… (SNARK!)

  4. chickenbonebill says:

    Why isn’t is considered a “Conflict of Interest” with Congress deciding what health care should be? After all don’t they recieve “Government Healthcare?”
    Shouldn’t they drop their “government healthcare,” an purchase healthcare plan in a state where their from, just like the people their reprsenting?

      • greenharper says:

        One little fix that could help would be a law mandating that campaign contributions, whether from lobbyists or others, be used ONLY for campaigns.

        At present, under some provision or other, these in effect are tax-free income to the lucky recipient politician.

        Some of us have speculated that a desire to keep remaining campaign contributions for his very own forever was a factor in John Kerry’s rapid 2004 fold in favor of a 2nd term for W. Bush.

        Kerry’s failure to demand a recount was particularly galling, as late in his campaign Kerry had solicited and raised money specifically for that purpose. Then he kept it.

        I’d go further and provide that a recipient politician could use campaign contributions only for HIS or HER OWN campaigns.

        One way that Tom DeLay increased his influence, if memory serves, was by contributing to others campaign money that he had received for his own use. This is playing dirty pool.

        It should be easy enough for a retiring politician to return unused campaign contributions. Each politician has records of each donor’s name and contact information. Just make proportional refunds, with provision for a Good Guy Use — donation to the Library of Congress? — of any unreturnable money.

    • fatster says:

      Sigh. We can, but apparently a majority of our Congresscritters can’t. And I won’t even mention WH occupants since I don’t want to offend by going off on one of my rants.

      • PJEvans says:

        A majority of our congresscritters haven’t been living in the real world since moving to DC. They socialize with ‘important people’ like lobbyists and pundits, and start thinking that that’s the real world.

  5. 4jkb4ia says:

    This has to have gotten dropped in the health care shuffle. I read about renewing the unemployment benefits and the homebuyer tax credit, but I didn’t know renewing this was on the table at all.

  6. 4jkb4ia says:

    Read article:

    Franken and other Democratic senators wrote a letter this week urging party leaders to act on the COBRA Subsidy Extension and Enhancement Act of 2009 (S. 2730). The bill, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would increase the subsidy from 65 percent to 75 percent, extend it from nine to 15 months and push the initial expiration date to next June.

    (I can quote things now like a normal person!) If they can run PATRIOT on and off the floor while they are doing health care, they can run this on and off. Hopefully 60 should not be difficult.

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