KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Jobs Bill, Democrats Push To Include Extension Of COBRA Benefits, Medicare ‘Doc Fix’

The New York Times reports that Democrats are trying to address some health coverage considerations in their jobs bill even as they grasp "for ideas to keep alive their health care legislation." Negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee may be close to a jobs agreement.  "Democrats were also pushing to include an extension of unemployment benefits and of health care coverage for those out of work." Also under discussion was the possibility of "attaching other initiatives, including a provision to prevent a steep cut in Medicare payment rates for doctors" (Hulse and Zeleny, 2/4).

CQ HealthBeat: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus talked Thursday about such provisions -- noting the potential for short-term fixes to stop scheduled Medicare payment cuts to doctors for outpatient rehabilitation services. Lawmakers are also discussing "language that would exempt virtually all Medicare beneficiaries from a cap of $1,860 on outpatient rehabilitation services for physical and occupational therapy and for speech-language pathology services" (Reichard, 2/4).

U.S. News and World Report has some tips for the unemployed and health insurance, which include getting the COBRA subsidy, finding affordable insurance, and "'Mix and match.' Many people don't realize that it's not all or nothing with COBRA-you don't have to elect it for everyone in your family who was covered under your former employer's group plan" (Lyon, 2/4).

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