Friday, December 11, 2009

Guest Blog: Silent Night

Guest blogger Jason Tabrys of shares his thoughts on the expiration of the Congressional COBRA subsidy:

Images of ivory towers. Of men and women fattened off the wealth of our labor, lackadaisical. They wake from their slumber and address the masses with promises of splendor and ease and then rumble back to their lavish suites uninspired to act with any sense of urgency. So long as they lay warm who is bothered by the cold? The Senate, the House, frozen, immobile like a glutton too overstuffed to rise from the table.

We have seen this all before, blustering and pontificating on the need to do something and then appropriately doing nothing until absolutely forced. How many Americans languished on the vine, desperately clawing their way to survival? Drowning victims praying that they would once again know air while the upper Senate debated and bickered over an unemployment compensation extension for months.

It seems yet again the mood of the Senate and House, is relaxed, while the reality for millions is anything but. Americans helped greatly by the COBRA subsidy that saw the Government pick up 65% of the health insurance premiums for those who had been laid off or otherwise lost their healthcare insurance are about to be thrust into a horrific position. Pay the full premium amount, a number that averages nearly 85% of the average monthly unemployment payout, or risk losing health coverage and be punished by future insurers who can charge exorbitant premiums and flat out deny coverage for pre-existing conditions for anyone who has been without insurance for a brief period.

With this crisis upon us Congress has done that which is typical, unleashing a mass of sound and fury signifying nothing. Bills have been proposed and are moving their way to the floor encased in Congress’ typical brew of quick dry cement and molasses. Nothing will happen before Congress takes yet another vacation to sip eggnog and bask in their good fortune. After all, they aren’t the poor souls whose cursed existences force them to rely on the timely help of elected officials for survival. One imagines the wheels of government might turn a little faster if there were more dedicated to stoking the fires.