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Many jobless do not qualify for COBRA

Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2009

The government is expanding a safety net to help the unemployed buy health insurance, but millions of people can't access the aid because of the way the program was designed, the Wall Street Journal reports. As a cornerstone of the economic stimulus plan, the Obama administration allocated $25 billion to pay 65% of health-insurance premiums for workers laid off this year. Earlier this month, Congress extended the program for people laid off through February 2010 and expanded the aid to 15 months from nine. But the program is eluding many people in need because it is tied to the narrow parameters of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, the Wall Street Journal reports.