Unemployment Update: Senate to take up Jobs Bill

The Senate is  talking jobs bill. Interestingly Sen. Byron Dorgan D-ND  who just announced he is not runnign is crafting the hill, here’s wishing he could figure out a way to get RX Reimportation into it, HA!

Senate Democrats are crafting a job creation bill that would boost funding for small businesses, public services, infrastructure projects and energy efficiency programs.

…They are considering new transit and highway spending and efforts to help stave off public employee layoffs, as well as a new tax credit for businesses hiring new workers and a program providing incentives for homeowners to retrofit their homes, according to a source off Capitol Hill.

That would be similar to the jobs bill passed by Democrats in the House last month. The House bill did not include the tax credit and “cash for caulkers” proposals, which are supported by President Barack Obama…


..The Durbin aide said suggestions of specific provisions in the jobs bill at this point are “pure speculation.” The aide noted that Durbin and Dorgan are still sifting through 121 ideas offered by Democratic senators.

The $174 billion House bill included $48 billion for public works projects and $28 billion to help state and local governments avoid laying off workers. It also provides money for more unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits for the jobless and a full-year extension of the current transportation authorization bill….

January 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. Comments off.

Unemployment Update: House passes COBRA Subsidy Extension…

Finally!!!!  Now we need action in the Senate. It feels like the first time the House has done something for the real people doesn’t it?? How about some Lou Gramm Foreigner-Unplugged


The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday, December 16, that would extend the federal subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums for employees who are involuntarily terminated.Embedded in H.R. 3326, a measure appropriating funds for the Department of Defense, the nine-month, 65 percent premium subsidy would be extended by six months to a total of 15 months. It would apply to those who lose their jobs through February 28, 2010. Under current law, employees who lose their jobs after December 31 are ineligible for the subsidy.

The measure, approved on 395-34 vote, also would provide an additional six months of subsidized coverage for beneficiaries whose nine-month COBRA premium subsidy has run out.

In addition, the legislation would give beneficiaries whose subsidy ran out and who didn’t pay the full premium a second chance to opt for coverage. For example, a beneficiary whose nine months of subsidized coverage ran out November 30 and who didn’t pay the regular unsubsidized December premium could pay the 35 percent premium share in January and receive coverage for December.

The legislation would require employers to notify current COBRA beneficiaries and future beneficiaries of the new 15-month premium subsidy.

The House is also expected to take up another appropriations bill, H.R. 2847, with a provision that would extend the premium subsidy to those who lose their jobs through June 30, 2010.

More on COBRA and other available resources for those who may have lost it, are losing it awaiting the Senate to take action, or cannot afford it courtesy of the WSJ:

…a companion bill has been introduced in the Senate that also would extend the Cobra subsidy for six months, up to a total of 15 months, and increase the subsidy to 75%. But it’s not known if the legislation will pass or even come to a vote….

…Many unemployed workers who first started receiving the Cobra subsidy in March lost it as of Nov. 30, and many more will start losing the subsidy this month. Workers whose Cobra eligibility begins on or after Jan. 1, 2010 won’t get the subsidy even if they’re terminated by Dec. 31, unless Congress extends the law (UPDATE from MiM: HOUSE has extended, waiting on Senate)



December 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Politics, Unemployment Statistics. 3 comments.

Market Mover Thursday: Bankrupcty Cramdown bill back in House and Obama Healthcare Summit…

Bankruptcy cramdown bill back on the floor of the House, with Moderate Democrats back on board. The markets have been worrying about this legislation. Our post on the bill here.

Also today the Obama Healthcare Kickoff Party Summit, see our health care post for details…

The markets have been selling health care since the Obama Budget was released:

Health care companies consider President Barack Obama’s budget a potential profit-killer. Investors agreed and dumped their shares last week, dragging down exchange traded funds.

The budget aims to raise taxes and deduction limits for people who earn more than $250,000 a year.

The ultimate goal is to raise $634 billion to help fix the health care system. The tax hikes will generate $318 billion of that amount, and the rest will be squeezed from Medicare, the government-sponsored health program for seniors.

The Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers could lose as much as $175 billion. The Advantage program is on the chopping block because it pays 14% more to providers than Medicare would for the same services.

On the other hand, the U.S. automobile industry and other sectors consider the end of company-sponsored health care the route to international competitiveness.

As a result of the stimulus package all employers are required to set aside a subsidy for a portion of the COBRA premiums for any employee they lay off for- 9 months the employer is required to pay 70% of the premiums.

As we noted in our detailed piece on Health care today, Baucus’ forthcoming health care legislation will reduce the tax deductions employers  receive for their health care contributions as well..

March 5, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . BSG, Cabinet, citigroup, Doo Wop, Economy, Entertainment, Finance, Healthcare, Immigration, Laurell K. Hamilton, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Sci Fi, Taxatrion, Taxes, To Have and Have Not, True Blood, Twilight, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 1 comment.

Health Care and Stimulus Package: COBRA Benefit explained…

Glad to see this breakdown, courtesy of the UK, none of our media bothered to explain it to us in detail, they are busy burnishing the halo for their hero, snark:

What the COBRA rules were prior:

Among its many measures to provide relief for the unemployed, the act creates a temporary subsidy to assist laid-off employees in continuing employer-provided health care benefits under COBRA and comparable state and governmental continuation coverage requirements. The subsidy does not apply to health flexible spending account benefits. Before the newly enacted changes to COBRA, employees electing COBRA continuation coverage had to pay up to 102 percent of the cost of the premiums for such coverage.

COBRA New Guidelines:

The new law provides that COBRA continuation premiums for employees who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 may not exceed 35 percent of the cost— effective March 1—with the remaining percentage to be subsidized by employers. Employers will then be able to claim a tax credit against wage withholding and payroll taxes to cover the COBRA subsidy.


Eligibility Factors Include Income and Termination Date

The COBRA subsidy is recaptured as additional income tax if the employee’s income exceeds $145,000 (single filers) or $290,000 (joint filers), with a phase-in of the recapture starting at annual incomes exceeding $125,000 ($250,000 for joint filers.) Individuals who expect their incomes to exceed these maximums in a given taxable year may waive the premium subsidy for that year.


February 21, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Obama Administration, Politics, Uncategorized, Unemployment Statistics. 8 comments.

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