Well another of the handful of blogging folks I talk to about non-blog activities is now out of work too. Outside The Beltway’s James Joyner got the downsizing axe swung his direction this morning.
Now this is a subject that I know something about…
Anyway we talked a few weeks after I lost my job, and I got the sense that his number was coming up at some point too. My two month journey through the metro DC job market indicates that while it’s not like the dot com heyday, the market is good.
The funny thing is that my layoff forced my hand, and now I stand to make substantially more than I did before. You won’t find me in the job creation statistics either, I’m an independent contractor. Why? One word – COBRA.
COBRA Continuation Health Coverage allows individuals who have been laid off to pursue entrepreneurial activities or independent contracting rather than take a new job with benefits. The benefits to the economy are obvious. It’s a mystery to me why greater emphasis on extending the length of coverage or grandfathering a right to long term continuation of benefits has not been pursued by Republicans.
Health care costs are skyrocketing so no one wants to loose health care coverage. Thanks to COBRA, downsizing or termination do not mean the end of your health benefits (for the most part). Having your health benefits firmly in place for 18 month allows you to consider work arrangements and activities that you otherwise might not choose due to a lack of health benefits.
The key to economic prosperity and entrepreneurial growth is affordable health insurance. As you get older coverage for pre-existing conditions becomes a big issue when you have to go from one plan to another. New health plans typically won’t cover pre-existing conditions, so you really need the ability to stay with your current health insurance coverage. The simplest way to effect that change is to grant the right to keep the insurance you already have as long as you want, at the rate your old company is paying (plus the 2% administration fee).
Freed from the need to subjugate their ambitions to the mercy of health coverage the American worker will have to opportunity to truly become a “free agent.” Look how well that worked out for A-Rod…