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February 27th, 2009
02:15 PM ET

Expand health care safety net for jobless

Patrick Keeffe
Special to CNN

Last fall, during the presidential campaign, my wife and I watched then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joseph Biden talk passionately about the health-insurance crisis and how they would address it.

When they noted that the average replacement cost for an employer-provided health plan is $12,000 a year in premiums, my wife and I looked at each other and realized that we were poster children for the health-insurance crisis. And we are not alone.

When the federal stimulus plan was passed, we were excited to learn the good news that the government will assist millions of unemployed people with their health-insurance costs.

Under the COBRA law, laid-off workers can continue to purchase the coverage provided by their employers' health plans for up to 18 months. But that coverage is more costly than regular health insurance on the job, since companies pay the bulk of the cost only for active workers.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. 40 Acres & A Mule

    healthy american's means a stronger america....it's worth the bill for our future!

    February 27, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    I was offered COBRA benefits for 1200 a month – that is more than I get in unemployment. So we have no insurance now. While I know that there are many people in the same sinking boat with us it is cold comfort when you have a sick child in the middle of the night and no place to turn.

    February 27, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Jim Carroll internet free press

    PORK AND EARMARKS
    If your Congresswoman isn’t bringing home some pork, get rid of him or her and elect someone who can. What do these idiots think we elect them to do? Pork produces jobs.
    Someone ought to get an earmark and study the bridge to nowhere to see how many jobs it created, how many pairs of shoes were sold, how many cars were bought, how many homes were bought, and how many tables was bread put on.

    February 27, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  4. Tarja, Finland

    Every country should provide ALL their citizens the basic services and that includes the unemployed and the poor.
    You must not slip through every safetynet just because you are out of work or/and out of money.
    Is it about time that would be reality even in the U.S.?

    February 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm |