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Public Statements

Jobs For Main Street Act, 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CARSON of Indiana. Madam Speaker, as we consider this final important jobs creating measure, I would like to draw attention to one of the important pieces of the legislation: the extension of the eligibility period for COBRA benefits. Unemployment numbers continue to hover nationally at 10 percent; however, in many areas of the country these numbers are far higher. With these high numbers comes a decline in access to healthcare benefits and thus the need for this critical provision.

Congress passed the landmark Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health benefit provisions in 1986, and it has maintained a successful program by providing a continuation of group health coverage for individuals and families that might otherwise have been terminated. And, through the economic stimulus package passed in February, a 65 percent subsidy was provided for COBRA benefits for nine months and has been a welcome relief for thousands of unemployed workers who otherwise would not have been able to afford the COBRA premiums.

Many individuals and families have already exhausted their subsidy and are trying to figure out how to maintain their health insurance coverage. The problem is especially felt by older Americans who are close to retirement age and not yet eligible for Medicare, as they tend to use more health care services. Providing our constituents with the ability to maintain health coverage when they become unemployed is a key to ensuring these individuals do not fall through the cracks and end up without the health insurance they need. I urge passage of this important legislation.

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