This morning, Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) introduced an amendment to reinstate subsidies that help newly unemployed workers purchase health insurance to the Senate jobs bill. The extended COBRA subsidy had been stripped from the House version of the bill by Blue Dog Democrats, and benefits started to expire on June 2.
But the subsidy not only helps individuals and families on unemployment benefits; it is also widely popular. Families USA has found that absent the subsidy, health insurance would become impossible to afford for hundreds of thousands. And a poll by Hart Research shows that 70 percent of Americans support extending the subsidies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has signaled that the final Senate bill will include Casey’s COBRA provision.
“Millions of Americans have been hard hit by the recession and lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Casey said in a statement. “If Congress turns its back on them, they will have an even more difficult time making ends meet. With no premium assistance, COBRA health care benefits would consume 75 percent of the monthly unemployment payment for a Pennsylvania family.”
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