Could Federal Employees Be Forced into the Public Option?
Oversight GOP Repeats Call for Hearing on Healthcare Bill’s Uncertain Impact on Federal Employees
WASHINGTON, DC – All 16 Republican Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today, in a letter to Chairman Edolphus Towns, called for the Committee to convene a hearing to examine issues including whether or not the bill could force 8 million Federal employees to either give up their existing insurance and enroll in the proposed public option or pay a new federal tax.
Republican Members expressed concern that H.R. 3962, the latest draft of healthcare reform, “fails to resolve questions regarding changes to the FEHBP (Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan), and we remain concerned about the effects the legislation may have on federal employees.” They further expressed disappointment that they have not received an update from the Committee’s majority on promised efforts to consult with the committees of primary jurisdiction on healthcare reform to address concerns about the impact on Federal employees.
According to H.R. 3962, every individual must obtain coverage through enrollment in a “qualified health benefits plan or other acceptable coverage.” While H.R. 3962 deems some programs such as TRICARE a, “qualified health benefits plan,” the bill does not grant this designation to private plans offered under FEHBP. Ranking Member Darrell Issa first raised concern about Federal employees being allowed to keep their existing coverage options to Chairman Towns in July.
“Even as House leadership rushes healthcare reform to a vote, long standing questions and problems in healthcare reform legislation are still not being addressed,” said Rep Issa. “All Americans, including federal employees, should be troubled by the concerted effort to avoid scrutiny and divert attention away from problems in this 2,000 page bill.”