Senate Committee Holds Hearing on FEHBP Model for Medicare Reform
Proponents of altering Medicare to operate under a system comparable to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, in which private health plans compete to cover federal workers, testified before the Senate Aging Committee yesterday, CongressDaily reports. Robert Moffit, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, said that while FEHBP "is by no means perfect, there is little doubt that it is a government program with a solid record of success." Walt Francis, a consultant who writes an annual guide to FEHBP, said, "The 'premium support' model used by ... FEHBP has proven to be both better and safer as an entitlement than the 'defined benefit' Medicare model." Francis added, "Unlike Medicare, the FEHBP statute has never been amended to reduce enrollee benefits." Urban Institute economist Marilyn Moon expressed the "only note of caution" during the hearing, highlighting her recently released study that found Medicare has held down spending better than private plans over the previous 30 years. CongressDaily reports that "it does not appear" that either the Senate Finance Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee, both of which have jurisdiction over Medicare, will support FEHBP-style Medicare reform (Rovner, CongressDaily, 5/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.