MEDICARE REFORM: Key Member Shows Tentative FEHB Support
A "key member" of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare yesterday indicated he may support the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan model advocated by committee co-chairs Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) and Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA). Stuart Altman, former health advisor to Republican and Democratic presidents and a "critical swing vote" on the 17-member panel, told a conference sponsored by Families USA that he would back the "premium support" proposal if it includes "four guarantees":
- A better benefits package, including prescription drug coverage
- A level of financial support "sufficient to purchase an adequate plan"
- Protection of low-income beneficiaries who may have difficulty paying the difference between a plan's cost and the government contribution
- Continuation of a "defined benefit," or guaranteed level of care.