Sen. Charles Grassley has introduced a health care amendment that would eliminate the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, but feds shouldn’t panic that they’ll be losing their health coverage as recent news stories have hinted.
Grassley’s amendment would have ended FEHBP and required feds to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges, just as average civilians would. But a modified version of the amendment accepted Tuesday as part of the Senate Finance Committee chairman’s mark weakens the language, allowing federal workers the option of leaving the FEHBP and enrolling in state exchanges.
Grassley, R-Iowa, offered his amendment to draw attention to a main point pushed by Republicans — why should federal employees receive coverage that’s much better than anything that would be offered through a public plan or a state-based health exchange? If a state-based exchange is good enough for the average taxpayer, why shouldn’t feds participate?
A Grassley staffer said the original amendment requiring feds to enroll in exchanges is a matter of fairness.
Sen. Grassley’s amendment to require elected officials and federal employees to buy insurance through exchanges is meant to apply the same standards to elected officials and federal employees as everyone else.”
The Senate Finance Committee’s markup of a draft health care bill is expected to continue into next week. We’ll keep you posted on any news affecting feds.