Unemployment Update: Senate passes Defense Bill – includes extension of eligibility for UE emergency bens and extends eligibility and duration of COBRA subsidy

I am strenuously ignoring what is happening on the Hill today with HCR.  Politico has the Dem ‘Highlight’ document up and it proudly announces CHILDREN will be exempt from pre existing condition limits in the bill, which of course means ADULTS are not. What a POS this thing is. Anyway. Happy talk dammit! The Senate managed to do something good on health care, and it is NOT in this POS bill. It was attached to the Defense Bill, a COBRA extension.

The bill contained the Patriot Act renewal so the lamestream media, in their constant attempts to ‘protect’ O from anything they view as negative, is not reporting all the details of what was in the bill.

They actually extended the COBRA subsidy, as the House did earlier in the week.

DetroitFreePress:

…The legislation makes some key changes to programs which were set to expire. For instance:

•The congressional stimulus bill passed in February created a program that paid 65% of monthly insurance premiums for people who lost their employer-based health care coverage because they were laid off. But that program was only open to people who lost their jobs – and their coverage – by the end of 2009. The new bill extends that eligibility deadline by two months, until the end of February 2010.

•It also adds six months to what was a 9-month period that the federal government would make the 65% of payments through the COBRA health plan, extending the period of payments to 15 months.

•The legislation also extends the deadline to qualify for additional unemployment benefits. Last month, Congress passed legislation adding 14 more weeks of emergency benefits – and six more on top of that for people in hard-hit states like Michigan. But they were only available to people exhausting all their other unemployment benefits by the end of December. The new bill extends that deadline to the end of February.

•It also maintains 2009 federal poverty guidelines – which if reset could have moved some people off food stamps and Medicaid – and adds additional funding to the food stamp program.

•Finally, the legislation authorizes the Small Business Association to continue programs to make loans more attractive to borrowers and lenders, in order to free up credit for businesses…

December 19, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Labor Department, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 1 comment.

Unemployment Update: Congress blows deadline to extend COBRA subsidy

Harry Reid is the Lonesome Loser of Leadership and he is taking all of us along for the ride. A more incompetent leader I have not seen since Daschle.  The COBRA extension WAS in the UE extension bill but they STRIPPED IT OUT!

Once again Congress demonstrates they are incapable of focusing on the truly URGENT issues, in this case the TRULY URGENT healthcare issue of extending the COBRA subsidy under the stimulus that allowed millions of us to keep our employer benefits once laid-off. In my case the loss of the subsidy means my monthly premium jumps from $600 to $1600. And effective January 1 it will go to $1800.00.

Congress could have acted to extend this but instead they are frakking around with a health care bill that will give none of us benefits for 4 years. Unbelievable. This COBRA subsidy was IMO,  one of the single most effective things they had done since the collapse. Our previous posts on the COBRA subsidy here.

TheHill:

A facet of the stimulus that subsidized unemployed workers’ healthcare premiums ended for many Monday, despite numerous attempts to prevent a rollback of the program.

Lawmakers have wrangled for months over a possible expansion of the Recovery Act’s more than $25 billion COBRA subsidy, which covers about 65 percent of jobless Americans’ monthly insurance bills for up to nine months.

But the debate over how to extend the program, for how long to extend it and how much the final product might cost has caused lawmakers to overshoot the Nov. 30 deadline, meaning those who enrolled in the program when it first launched will soon lose their subsidies and — perhaps later, lawmakers fear — their insurance coverage.Consequently, Democrats seem poised to address COBRA coverage in their pending jobs stimulus, but details of how that extension might look remain unclear.

In the meantime, a slew of efforts in both chambers of Congress could extend the program for about six months.

One of those proposals, sponsored by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), would also open the program’s eligibility window to include any worker who lost his or her job between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2010. Currently, only those losing their jobs between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, 2009 are eligible for the subsidy.

However, Sestak’s bill remains lodged in committee, as do a few other, similar efforts in both the House and Senate….

Joe Sestak is a vet and an all around good guy. I disagree with him on trying the 9/11 conpirators in NYC but Joe IS moderate and IS looking out for PA residents, more than I can say for Benedict Arlen Specter against whom he is running in ’10.

December 1, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. Comments off.

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