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October 03, 2003

Health Care for Unemployed?

It's not universal health care, but it's one possible step with important bipartisan support, namely the GOP chair, Charles Grassley, and ranking Democrat, Max Baucus, on the Finance Committee.

The plan:

Baucus said the bill will build on and expand a tax credit passed by Congress a year ago to help workers who lose their insurance -- and their jobs -- when their employers move business to other countries. It would also reportedly include subsidies to help those who lose their jobs continue their health insurance under a 1996 law that allows individuals to buy coverage from their former employers.
Expanding the credit's reach to bring in eligible unemployment compensation recipients would cost $ 31.6 billion over 10 years, according to Joint Tax Committee estimates cited by Grassley and Baucus. The senators estimate that the bill would facilitate the purchase of health coverage by 1.4 million people per month in 2004 and 1.2 million per month in 2005 and beyond.

That's only a small step, but in the current political climate, a lot of small steps may be the best hope for expanding coverage.

Posted by Nathan at October 3, 2003 11:22 AM