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|Hare Calls on Congress to Extend COBRA Subsidy for Laid Off Workers
|The Galesburg area's representative in the U-S House says he's going to bat for laid off workers who are facing the prospect of losing their health insurance coverage.
Democratic Congressman Phil Hare made a few stops in his district Saturday, including one in Galesburg, to call on Congress to extend the temporary subsidy for COBRA premiums by another nine months. COBRA, a costly health insurance program, began in 1985 and required employers with 20 or more employees to provide the workers the option of continuing their coverage under the employer's group health insurance plan in the case of termination.
The federal economic stimulus package, starting March 1st, made available a 65 percent tax subsidy for nine months of COBRA benefits for workers laid off between September 1st of 2008 and December 31st of 2009.
Hare says without the COBRA subsidy, which will go away at the end of this month without an extension, many Illinois residents who depend on it will become uninsured.
"Currently with the subsidy, on average, now it could be a little bit higher or a little bit lower depending upon the number of people in your family, (workers are) paying about $399 with the subsidy," Hare said. "If this subsidy were to go away, that would raise up to $1,139 - almost an $800 a month hit."
Hare says he and 53 other members of Congress have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking an extension of the COBRA subsidy. He says the House may consider the matter this week.
The Rock Island Democrat during his visit also discussed a bill he's introduced - called the New Deal for a New Economy Act. Hare says the proposal, which he claims would put millions of Americans back to work, has been well received so far.
17th District Congressman Phil Hare, right, and Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza, left, at Galesburg City Hall Saturday to discuss extending the COBRA health care subsidy for laid off workers.
(WGIL News Story and Photo by Mike Perry)
|12 13 09 by Newsroom
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