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PNS Daily Newscast - August 7, 2020 

The State Attorney of NY moves to dissolve the NRA; an update on the potential wave of pandemic evictions.

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The Commission on Presidential Debates rejected the Trump's campaign for a fourth debate. Hawaii has a primary tomorrow, but there are only 8 vote service centers.

U.S. Senate Begins Debate Over Health Reform

November 30, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Senate begins debate this week over its health care reform bill. Unlike the House version, it does not extend health insurance benefits to laid-off workers. The House bill allows an unemployed person to pick up the benefit premiums, in order to remain covered, until 2013. The current system, known as COBRA ("cobra"), allows terminated employees to remain on their former employer's insurance, but only for 18 months and only if they can pay the full cost themselves. The idea behind the House bill is that by 2013, larger reforms - like a public option - would be up and running.

Arlington mother Terry McKinstry relies on COBRA to cover her family's health care expenses. She worked as a office manager for more than seven years, before being laid off last June.

"I am nervous, and I must admit that I'm a little embarrassed I haven't paid closer attention to this issue before, because it's very, very scary - and having a seven-month-old makes it even scarier."

McKinstry says she strongly supports health care reform, including a public option. Earlier this year, the federal stimulus bill gave workers a 65 percent rebate on their COBRA payments. Congress is expected to renew that rebate before its holiday break.

Both the Senate and the House bills create a $5 billion temporary public insurance option for people who have been denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. McKinstry, who has asthma, believes such protections are necessary.

"I can't imagine not having insurance. I've always had a job; the last time I was unemployed for this long, I was 15."

More information is available from the Virginia Organizing Project, 434-984-4655.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA