McCain’s Health Care Adviser Is Losing His Own Coverage
Sen. John McCain's top health care adviser in the presidential campaign is about to lose his health care coverage, providing a face to a common dilemma. The Washington Post reports: "If history had taken a different course, Doug Holtz-Eakin would be inside the McCain White House driving the Republican president's domestic agenda, including health-care reform." But as things turned out, "the man who was by McCain's side as the campaign's top health-care guru remains unemployed -- and his COBRA health coverage is running out. Irony of ironies, it gets worse. Holtz-Eakin, who is about to start shopping for insurance on the individual market, is 51. And he has one of those pesky 'preexisting conditions' that insurance companies often cite in denying coverage."
"Holtz-Eakin said he's been paying about $1,000 a month to extend the private health insurance he received on McCain's campaign through the government's COBRA program, but that will expire in a few months. This is the first time in his life he has not had employer-provided health coverage. ... Despite his personal trials, however, Holtz-Eakin said his conviction on the hot-button issue of health care is unchanged. He believes that reform is needed, but that President Obama and congressional Democrats are going about it the wrong way. The system is 'broken,' he said, but the bills now before Congress do not cut costs enough" (Rucker, 11/2).
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports on coverage after COBRA: "With eligibility for a government subsidy for Cobra premiums due to expire Dec. 31, and talk of an extension growing, some laid-off workers are puzzled about what to do next. ... Membership in Cobra plans has doubled at employers surveyed since the subsidy took effect March 1, according to benefits consultant Hewitt Associates. An estimated 14 million workers are now eligible. Given those numbers, a bill has been introduced in Congress to extend the subsidy for six more months. That would allow eligible individuals to receive the subsidy for as many as 15 months, instead of the current nine months" (McQueen, 11/1).