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President Obama signs a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut

Friday, December 23, 2011, President Obama signed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut memorialized in a bill passed by both the House and the Senate. House Republicans had rejected a similar bill earlier in the week, but passed the legislation after minor tweaks and mounting political pressure.

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House rejects 2-month payroll tax cut

Today, the House rejected legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for two months. Read More...

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Senate Approves Two-Month Extension of Payroll-Tax Break

This morning, the U.S. Senate approved, in an 89-10 vote, a two-month extension of the payroll-tax break and federal unemployment insurance. The Senate's 89-10 vote will allow workers to continue paying a reduced 4.2% of their earnings to fund Social Security for the first two months of 2012.

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Essential Health Benefits: HHS Informational Bulletin

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a bulletin on essential health benefits.
According to the release, when implementing essential health benefits in a state exchange, states would have the flexibility to select a benchmark plan that reflects the scope of services offered by a “typical employer plan.” This approach is intended to give states some flexibility.

States would choose one of the following benchmark health insurance plans:

  • One of the three largest small group plans in the state by enrollment;
  • One of the three largest state employee health plans by enrollment;
  • One of the three largest federal employee health plan options by enrollment;
  • The largest HMO plan offered in the state’s commercial market by enrollment.
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