Posts Tagged ‘COBRA’

Today, it was reported, HERE, AND HERE, that the House of Representatives passed a bill extending ARRA. I am still awaiting that information from the Daily Record.

The actual title appears to be: H.R.4260 “Transitional Federal Medical Assistance Percentage Act”.

Title: To provide adjusted Federal medical assistance percentage rates during a transitional assistance period.

Sponsor: Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] (introduced 12/10/2009)      Cosponsors (7)

Related Bills: S.2833

Latest Major Action: 12/10/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

If it is this bill, it is designed to last in some fashion four years, ending December 31, 2113. It includes adjustments; some are negative. It includes provisions for COBRA and unemployment compensation. It has provisions to States regarding how the bill, as an act, will articulate with their funds. There may be others that were packaged with it.

A similar and related bill has been introduced to the Senate as noted below:


Title: A bill to provide adjusted Federal medical assistance percentage rates during a transitional assistance period.

Sponsor: Sen Reed, Jack [RI] (introduced 12/3/2009)      Cosponsors (9)

Related Bills: H.R.4260

Latest Major Action: 12/3/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

Taxpayers for Common Sense has a fairly snarky comment about it’s passage In the House’s effort to get this done by the Holiday recess.

[..”But they weren’t done yet – next up, the jobs bill – basically another round of stimulus. This bill would direct $27.5 billion toward more infrastructure spending, increase aid to states and extend several benefit packages. Unlike the two earlier bills, this one is unlikely to survive the Senate intact, if at all, since the Senate is momentarily more leery of swelling this year’s predicted $1.5 trillion budget deficit. “..]


Based on TCS’s view, we all better call our Senators this week. I suppose it’s possible they still haven’t heard how much we are hurting out here. Or, maybe they really think that a .2% bureaucratic paper shuffle really constitutes an improvement in the unemployment rate.

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My daughter, who has been left without employment as part of a harassment situation is, as a consequence, currently also without employment insurance compensation. Her husband, who was laid off earlier has been receiving compensation, and as many others in this position, was due to receive an extension this month. Upon assurances from the Employment Office that his extension was in the works and he need do nothing himself toward the extension, he anticipated a check last week.

Of course, it didn’t come. It now appears that he does indeed have to file for the extension himself and endure a three-week gap in checks. They are in a perilous situation financially, in part because he needs medications, and therefore $1000 a month COBRA, and therefore the physical ability to work, or fall to disability.

I set out this synopsis above, not to ask for commiseration or bemoan their situation, however, but to pounce upon a point that my bureaucratic ears picked up.

Take a look at the chart on this link HERE. As reported, there was a slight decline in the November unemployment rate over October’s from 10.2% down to 10%.

Going back to ancient history, which is my frame of reference in things bureaucratic, I recall that during the Ford reelection Campaign and The Carter reelection campaign, the employment statistics magically got better. We in the job development market then understood this to be mostly a consequence of chopping off the length of time people could receive checks, thereby “disappearing” the problem.

Assuming her husband’s check snafu was in fact just a bureaucratic error, as opposed to what happened in the Ford and Carter Campaigns, there still is the possibility that what happened to him happened to others. In a large enough population, events like this can account for .2% differences. So I’m curious. Did this happen to any of you?

There is some evidence that this dispensation of the extension did make the difference.

That being the case, why was there so much media hype to proclaim the 10% an improvement? Maybe it’s got something to do with this. The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” is due for renewal this month. If Congress doesn’t renew it, a whole lot of unemployed people are going to be in a world of hurt.  Yeah I know, the monster is full of things everyone wants to argue about.  Consider that if it can be said employment is getting better, the incentive to renew is reduced. But think about it. How many of YOUR neighbors have gone back to work? The Act has tied the immediate future of the unemployed to it’s renewal.

See what the Iowa Independent says about it HERE.

The problem is that we are running out of time – only 22 shopping days left till Jan 1, and Congress has been pretty busy with Health Care.

NOW is the time to start bugging the House to put the thing in motion.

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