In 2002, the Bush administration and the GOP Congress gave certain laid-off workers what they claimed was a nifty way to obtain health insurance -- tax credits! Tax credits that would pay part of the cost of health insurance for people who have no jobs whatsoever (and thus, presumably, little or no income).
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) simply can't figure out why laid-off workers aren't taking advantage of this program. The New York Times quotes her:
"We have to find out immediately what's limiting the success of this program. We are talking about health insurance for people who have lost their jobs. The delays are troubling and unacceptable."
Roy J. Ramthun, a senior adviser on health initiatives at the Treasury Department, is equally baffled:
"We are surprised that more people have not signed up for the advance payment option. We've tried to do everything we can to make the process of qualifying for the credit as simple as possible."
E, you don't suppose these laid-off workers aren't giving the miss because, y'know, they can't afford the co-payment, do you?
Mrs. Craven said she and her 61-year-old husband had lost their jobs in a Pillowtex mill where they worked for three decades. She has asthma. He is diabetic and has had a heart attack. Mrs. Craven said the premiums for the insurance offered to them ranged from $1,700 to $5,400 a month. Their share of the premiums would be $595 to $1,890 a month.
The couple, drawing $416 a month in unemployment benefits, was in no position to pay such costs, Mrs. Craven said....
Nah! That can't be the explanation! It's obviously a complete mystery!