FEHBP beneficiaries won't face higher health care tax...yet

Pressure from federal employee unions pushed lawmakers to give rank-and-file feds same deal on health excise tax as state/local counterparts

Feds spoke out loud and strong against a Democratic agreement that would have left beneficiaries of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program subject to a proposed tax on high-cost health insurance plans five years sooner than many other groups with high-cost plans.

Labor’s original deal with Democrats — announced Jan. 14 — postponed the tax’s effective date to 2018 only for beneficiaries of state and local employee plans and those in plans that are negotiated through collective bargaining agreements, which the FEHBP is not.

But pressure from federal employee unions and other organizations representing feds this week pushed lawmakers to give rank-and-file federal employees the same deal. Democratic leadership revealed the change on Jan. 20.

Dan Adcock, of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees, credited the turnaround to a swift response from a broad coalition of federal employee groups. Adcock told FederalDaily that NARFE President Margaret Baptiste, for example, began pressing the White House and congressional leadership to give FEHBP beneficiaries parity the same day the deal was announced, and immediately mobilized a grassroots effort to rally its members.

In a statement, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley extended particular thanks to a number of D.C.-area lawmakers — including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va.; Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. — for “ensuring that the people who serve our country each and every day were included in the exemption.”

The altered agreement still must be reviewed, and could be changed by lawmakers as Congress continues to work on a final version of the health care bill. In addition — with the Republican gain of a Senate seat in the special Jan. 19 election to fill the vacant seat left by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy — even larger changes could be in store now that Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof majority.

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Reader comments

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 RayW

1. The "blank" sender who states that the Democratic northeast is tired of paying for the Republican South should realize that the southern states were in the past strongly Democratic but in recent years have become more neutral (not counting a certain Katrina victim who is still D). There are very few states that prefer the old guard Republican platform anymore (if you can believe the polls). and 2. I wonder how many supporters realize that the only folks who really will benefit from the Obama/Clinton 'healthcare' program will be our royalty ('elected' folks in the federal hierarchy and their retainers). If this is so good, WHY does the union have to buy special exemption from what the common folk have to put up with? WHY does congress, senate, obama, and certain other 'special' groups get exempted? As most federal workers know, while many of us in the trenches are dedicated, we have so much waste due to stupid rules, the *S system, and politics, and those of us who worked in industry usually saw it in our government programs; do we want that organization to run this??? Not that the insurance companies have not become as bloated and crooked as our federal government, but a crook to run a crook?

Sat, Jan 30, 2010

I agree with the commenter who suggested that we should "cut all federal aid to states and see where things go" as long as we also cut all the federal taxes that are paid by citizens of the States to pay for that aid". Of course neither the Big-Spender Party nor the Bigger-Spender Party would like that very much, since they both benefit from the federal pork system and the opportunities it provides to coerce State legislatures and to buy votes in federal elections.

Thu, Jan 28, 2010

I think what Massachusetts said was they were tired of having the northeast pay for federally subsidized welfare for the republican south that siphons off federal dollars at every opportunity while proclaiming they are self sufficient, want no federal government and no government help or money. Take a look at where federal tax dollars come from (the liberal north) and where they go (the conservative south). We in the northeast are tired of carrying the south. Let's cut all federal aid to states and see where things go!!

Wed, Jan 27, 2010

Does this mean that when it become time to ration medical services under ObamaCare, that federal employees will join the ranks of union members, Democrat Party supporters and employees of Acorn in being exempt from "pull the plug on Granny" decisions, made by the great healthcare Tsar in D.C.

Wed, Jan 27, 2010

Calling this agreement a "Democratic agreement" instead of a "Democrat Party agreement" is a mistake that occurs often in journalism, - writers will use the adjective "democratic" when they intend to use the proper noun "Democrat" this difficulty can be easily eliminated by simply renaming the "Democrat Party" into what it really has become: the "Fabian Socialist Party"

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