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This Cobra Doesn't Bite

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access WeBlog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. 

prevent gruesome cuts that would deny coverage for millionstemporarily expanding Medicaid for newly-unemployed adults

ridiculously large portion of unemployment benefits

Check out the intense standardized questionnaire to get coverage in Washington state, which at least has put some oversight over the process. In California and many other states, insurers can ask their own questions, and can have different criteria of who is denied or not. Here’s the basic disclosure in California for the many reasons you can be denied coverage--even for ailments you may not know you have. In the wild west of the individual insurance market, anybody can be denied.
So group coverage through COBRA is the last hope to ensure that many who lose their job don’t lose their coverage, but it only will really work if it can subsidized to a point to be affordable. For some, a Medicaid expansion would be more affordable and make more sense, which is why the House version includes that option as well. Both are needed to be included in the final package. And then we need to move on to overall health reform to end the practice of allowing insurers in the individual market to play Russian Roulette with consumers’ coverage.

--Anthony Wright