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At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused upheaval for millions of our fellow citizens, The New York Times recently ran an opinion piece “Employer-Based Health Care, Meet Massive Unemployment,” in which the author proposes to disrupt health insurance for nearly 160 million more Americans through a public option or Medicare-for All approach.
The pandemic is a reason to buttress employer-sponsored health insurance, not dismantle it. For the millions of Americans who find themselves temporarily out-of-work, Congress should provide a short-term federal subsidy so that they can maintain their existing health insurance. Congress already permitted employers to claim the new Employee Retention Tax Credit to cover costs of continuing coverage for furloughed workers.
Now it is time to expand on that by providing individuals with a temporary COBRA subsidy. Americans get to keep the insurance they have – and overwhelming say they want to keep – and don’t have to worry about finding new coverage or resetting their deductible. Now is a time for common-sense solutions, not radical changes.