If you need a job you should
take the lower paying steady job. The stable lower paying job may be the best way for you to go for now untill the job situation picks up. Everyone is feeling the crunch, so if you could stay at the lower paying job and ride out the unstable job market for a while you would be ok.
$40-$50 jobs are hard to find, but if you land a long term gig it would be great. With a long term project you should be able to pay for your own medical insurance, even with the 1800 working hours per year. I did consulting work for a company that allowed the consultants to come in during the holidays to work, so they would get paid for the holiday. There is a big risk with the $40-$50 jobs, they could cancel the contract after 2 weeks.
The question is do you like to gamble or play it safe?