Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to start debate Monday on a bill that would extend COBRA health coverage benefit subsidies for people who have been laid-off. The measure, part of a larger package of expired government programs, also would help states with Medicaid reimbursements.
CongressDaily: The 254-page, $150 billion bill would extend COBRA assistance through the end of the year and give states and extra six months of Medicaid assistance. The two provisions "are designated as emergency spending and exempt from pay/go rules" designed to keep the deficit under control. As senators debate "unemployment and COBRA benefits will have lapsed, some satellite television signals will have gone dark and Medicare physician payments will have been cut, as all of those programs expired Sunday at midnight. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., blocked consideration of a 30-day extension bill last week, arguing it adds $10 billion to the deficit — which may foretell how he and other Republicans will react to $100 billion in unoffset spending." (Cohn and Goode, 3/1).