FEHBP modernization would improve service, save money
Op-Ed in The Hill
THE HILL - It is rare that our federal government has an opportunity to both serve people better and save taxpayers money, but the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) provides an opportunity to save taxpayers as much as $300 million dollars and to modernize comprehensive health plans that will better meet consumers’ needs.
In his recent budget request for FY16, President Obama proposed giving the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees the FEHBP, greater flexibility to add modern types of health benefits plans to the program. This is the third year the President has requested this adjustment and prior to that, President George W. Bush also sent legislation to Congress to make the same change. By injecting competition and flexibility into the FEHB without allowing plans to cherry-pick consumers or discriminate against people in rural areas, we can make a good system even better. OPM’s deliberation and implementation of any changes would need to be thorough and carefully executed to ensure no adverse or unintended impacts occur to federal employees, but working together in a bipartisan, reasonable manner we can keep FEHB effective and in place for decades to come.
The American people are understandably frustrated by the lack of bipartisan action in Congress. Modernizing the federal health care system and saving taxpayer money is a goal that both parties can rally around and support this year.
We pledge to work together to bring the FEHBP into the 21st Century, so beneficiaries and taxpayers can benefit from the lower costs, improved value, and increased consumer choice that competition always brings to the marketplace.
Ribble has represented Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District since 2011. He sits on the Foreign Affairs and the Transportation committees. Schrader has represented Oregon’s 5th Congressional District since 2009. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee.