Stimulus for Health

This is Robert Pear, writing in today's New York Times:

Altogether, the economic recovery bill would speed $127 billion over the next two and a half years to individuals and states for health care alone.

The specifics:

  • $87 billion increasing spending on Medicaid
  • $11 billion in Medicaid benefits for the unemployed
  • $29 billion subsidized COBRA benefits, allowing people to remain in their previous employer's health plan.

And this doesn't count the extra cost of COBRA to employers – making future employment and, in particular, future employer-based health insurance more expensive.

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ken says:

    The Congressional Democrats are going to have almost everbody enrolled in Medicaid before Obama ever even gets around to his universal coverage reforms.

  2. Larry C. says:

    Think about what else could be done with that money. Let’s say there are 20 million year round uninsured. We could give $3,000 to every one of them ($12,000 for a family of four) to purchase their own insurance!

  3. John Goodman says:

    There is an editorial on this in the Wall Street Journal today.

  4. Bart Ingles says:

    The COBRA provision is really misguided.

    First, COBRA is only available so long as the company stays in business with more than 20 employees, and maintains group coverage. So anyone who is thrown out of work due to business failure, or who worked for a small employer, gets nothing from this provision.

    Second, the 65 percent tax credit is excessive by a factor of two or three. It’s well in excess of even the federal tax exclusion. How do you justify a gift this generous, again limited only to workers who are already fortunate enough to have COBRA as an option? Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply increase the unemployment benefit?

    Third, the COBRA extensions are an unfunded mandate on corporations. Moreover, as a company’s financial condition deteriorates and it is forced to cut employees, the mandate actually increases. How is this supposed to stimulate the economy?

  5. John K says:

    For people laid off BEFORE Sept 1, 2008 then they don’t seem to be covered. What idiots do we have in Washington. The people laid off over the summer, and paying COBRA are the ones who need the subsidy the MOST. Perhaps the law will be amended.