Many workers who lose their health insurance when they lose their jobs will find it cheaper to keep that coverage while they look for work.
Right now, most people working for medium and large employers can continue their coverage for 18 months under the COBRA program when they lose their job. It's expensive, often over $1,000 a month, because they pay the share of premiums once covered by their employer as well as their own share from the old group plan.
Under the stimulus package, the government will pick up 65 percent of the total cost of that premium for the first nine months.
Lawmakers initially proposed to help workers from small companies, too, who don't generally qualify for COBRA coverage. But that fell through. The idea was to have Washington pay to extend Medicaid to them.
COBRA applies to group plans at companies employing at least 20 people. The subsidies will be offered to those who lost their jobs from Sept. 1 to the end of this year.
Those who were put out of work after September but didn't elect to have COBRA coverage at the time will have 60 days to sign up.
In addition to this, Obama also approved a bill that would provide health insurance to low income children. This is a bill that Bush vetoed more than once. I don't know what Bush has against poor, sick children getting the medical care they need to survive and be healthy. But now we have a president that cares.