Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Health Care Update: ObamaCare is NOT What Congress Has

Another false talking point that you might hear about ObamaCare is that it is just like the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) that Members of Congress enjoy. NOT TRUE AT ALL...

  • All federal employees participating in FEHBP receive their coverage from private plans—no so-called “public option” is necessary to create competition or enhance choice.

  • Federal employees are not required to participate in any FEHBP plan, or to enroll in FEHBP at all— unlike the government-run plan, where bureaucrats could enroll individuals solely in the government-run plan. (Section 205(b)(3), pp. 69-70)

  • Plans participating in FEHBP have flexibility to determine their own benefits—unlike the government-run plan, where bureaucrats on a new “Health Benefits Advisory Committee” would determine what health coverage all individuals must purchase. (Section 123(b), pp. 28-30)

  • In FEHBP, plans negotiate with hospitals and doctors to determine fair reimbursement levels—unlike the government-run plan, where bureaucrats would be able to pay doctors and hospitals as little as they want, while denying physicians the right to appeal the bureaucrats’ decision to any board or court for review. (Section 223(f), pp. 96-97)

  • There are no penalties for non-participation in FEHBP—unlike the government-run plan, where under the Democrats’ new regime, individuals would be taxed if they do not buy coverage that meets bureaucrats’ diktats, whether they want (or need) that coverage or not—and whether they can afford that coverage or not. (Section 401, pp. 136-40)

  • Because plans within FEHBP operate at arm’s length from the federal government, there is no government pressure for carriers to deny access to life-saving treatments based on cost grounds—unlike a government-run health plan, which would face pressure to deny care to save money. As senior Obama Administration official Sherry Glied has previously written: “Health care waiting lines represent a trade-off between patient costs and capital costs.”

  • Perhaps most importantly, no provision in any Democrat bill would transition existing participants in FEHBP into either the new Exchanges or the government-run health plan. Neither Democrat Members nor federal employee unions have demonstrated any desire to join a government-run health plan.
  • If ObamaCare were just like the FEHBP, then Congresscritters would be eager to sign up themselves for ObamaCare...they aren't.

    Don't be fooled...