It has been well documented that American workers value their health insurance benefits almost as much as their paycheck. That is why it is so important for Congress to support workers who are laid off or furloughed by providing a COBRA subsidy to prevent them from going uncovered during the pandemic. After all, their loss of employment was driven by a health threat.
A number of key stakeholders -- unions, major insurers, hospitals and consumer advocacy groups -- have banded together through a group called the Alliance to Fight for Health Care and are lobbying Congress to subsidize COBRA through the next stimulus package. Mercer is a member of the Alliance, which was convened by the same folks who created the Alliance to Fight the Forty and helped repeal the Cadillac Tax. The US Chamber of Commerce, American Medical Association, and the Alliance, among others, sent a letter to Congressional leadership to encourage swift action to protect worker’s health care benefits.
As you might expect, this is a politically charged issue, and the question of whether to provide COBRA subsidies is being turned by some into a debate about the future of employment-based insurance. For more on the view from both sides of that issue, check out this article in Politico. But if you believe our first priority should be providing support to employees already coping with loss of employment who need health coverage now, please let your elected officials know – either by contacting members of Congress directly or through your support of advocacy organizations in Washington DC. We are all in this together.