Senator John McCain posted on Twitter about his vote against confirming Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services:
voted against Sebelius – already moving towards socialized auto companies, we don’t need socialized medicine! about 4 hours ago from web
Socialized medicine? You mean like this? [pdf]:
[September 2007]…Members of Congress and retired Members are entitled to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) under the same rules as other federal employees. Members meeting minimum enrollment period requirements who are also eligible for an immediate annuity may continue to participate in the health benefit program when they retire. For an additional fee, incumbent Members can receive health care services from the Office of the Attending Physician in the U.S. Capitol; in addition, Members may purchase care from the military hospitals using their FEHBP benefit. Members must also pay the same payroll taxes as all other workers for Medicare Part A coverage…
…Financing. The federal government and enrollees jointly pay for the cost, or premiums, of the FEHBP plans. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA 97, P.L. 105-33) established the current formula for determining the government’s contribution, which became effective January 1999. The government’s share is an amount equal to 72% of the average premium of all participating plans (weighted by the number of plan participants) but no more than 75% of the premium of any individual plan. This formula is applied separately to self only and family plans. Participants pay an average of 28%, but no less than 25% of premiums…
…Private Sector Comparability
For individual coverage, the employer’s contribution in the private sector is generally more generous than the federal government’s FEHBP contribution for its employees. According to the Department of Labor, private sector employers’ share for coverage is 81% for individual coverage and 71% for family coverage (compared to FEHBP’s payment of 72% of the average premium of all participating plans).
FEHBP’s family coverage includes all families of two or more, while private sector plans may have different premiums for family plans depending on the family size. Under FEHBP’s family coverage, a family of two pays the same premium as a family of four.
Approximately three-fourths of all workers in private industry had no choice in medical insurance plan, either because they were not offered a plan (30%) or because they were offered only one plan (44%), while many FEHBP participants have the advantage of a wide choice of plans.
The number and percentage of people covered by employment-based health insurance has been decreasing. In the private sector, coverage dropped from 69% in 2000 to 60% in 2007. In particular, retiree health coverage has been hit the hardest. Sixty-six percent of all large firms (with 200 or more workers) offered retiree health coverage in 1988, compared with 33% in 2007. FEHBP is available to federal retirees at the same cost and with the same benefits offered to active employees.
In terms of premium increases, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that starting in 2003, FEHBP premium rate of growth was generally slower than for other purchasers. According to GAO testimony, since 2003, the average growth rate of FEHBP premiums has been 7.3% compared with 10.5% for the employer-ponsored plans surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research Educational Trust. Premium rate growth for the 10 largest FEHBP plans (based on enrollment), that accounted for about three-quarters of total enrollment, ranged from 0% to 15.5% for 2007…
Nice work and good benefits, if you can get it.