Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Finance Committee, has introduced legislation to support health coverage for unemployed and retired workers.

The bill would renew the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which expired on Dec. 31, 2013, for six years, through 2019.

The HCTC is a refundable tax credit equal to 72.5 percent of the cost of qualified health coverage paid by an individual who receives a trade adjustment allowance, who is eligible for the alternative trade adjustment assistance program, or who is over age of 55 and receives pension benefits from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Wyden considers the tax credit to be a critical program to strengthen the American workforce and make it more competitive internationally.

“We have an obligation to provide support for workers who are knocked off stride by the global economy,” Wyden said in a statement. “And one big way to fulfill that promise is by making sure those workers continue to have health insurance. That’s what this bill does. And that's why it's important and necessary. By extending the Health Coverage Tax Credit, we are providing a crucial lifeline to workers who are transitioning between jobs by making it possible for them to maintain health insurance. This is the right thing to do, and it’s plain common sense.”

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