According to Kaiser Health News, Senate Democrats continue to push for an extension of the COBRA subsidy retroactive to June 1. Kaiser cites the Wall Street Journal, which indeed reports that the COBRA subsidy is still in play -- but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats who support an extension of the COBRA subsidy are not prepared to commit that the COBRA subsidy will come up for a vote any time soon.
Um, it's been 11 days since the subsidy expired, along with unemployment benefits. That means there are hundreds of thousands of people who may now be allowing their COBRA to lapse because they can't foot the entire bill. So when they show up at the emergency room, they will be treated as if they have no insurance.
What the heck is taking so long? This is a no-brainer! I get that the deficit continues to increase because the federal government is supporting people who are involuntarily unemployed through unemployment benefits and the COBRA subsidy, not to mention aid to states to cover increases in Medicaid due to the recession. But if what's really driving this is the deficit, why are Republicans trying to add funding for programs to explore medical malpractice reform in this same bill? It's okay to deficit spend on behalf of doctors who can afford the status quo but it's not okay to deficit spend on behalf of people who have lost their jobs and their health insurance? (Not to mention the money we are deficit spending fighting two wars that appear to be unwinnable and unending).
If you haven't called your members of Congress yet to vent about this, shame on you. If you need contact information for members of the House, go here. If you need contact information for the Senate, go here.
This is not about politics, folks. This is about life and death. Jennifer