In the many postings on health care there is frequent reference to the health care provided to Congress. The belief seems to be that it's in a league of it's own. But that's not the case, it's the same health care coverage available to any federal government employee or retiree. It's good health care but certainly not free to it's members. It's no where as inexpensive as the heath care benefits some union contracts offer. The plan is managed by OPM, Office of Personnel Management. See: http://www.opm.gov/Insure/
It is run by insurance companies. IT IS NOT GOVERNMENT RUN INSURANCE.
OPM's roll is largely administrative, it defines a minimum core benefit and lets insurance companies bid on the contract annually. The different choices one has depends on where you live and how many insurance companies want to do business in that area. You get to chose what company you want. Your premium is different depending on the insurance company and the benefit. Insurers can not deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Now for some facts:
Eligibility: It covers Federal employees, retirees and survivors.
Plus there are others as specifies in the Handbook (see: http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/refere ... fehb00.asp
Out of the Handbook:
Eligibility for Health Benefits
* Cooperative Employees
* Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation County Committee Employees
* Employees Transferred to Public International Organization
* U.S. Commissioners
* Personal Service Contractors of the U.S. Department of the Treasury
* Presidential Appointee
* Provisional Appointee
* Acting Postmaster
Again right out of the handbook, using selective quotes:
Generally, if you are a Federal employee or annuitant, you share the cost of your health benefits coverage with the Government as your employer.
For most employees and annuitants, the Government contribution equals the lesser of: (1) 72 percent of amounts OPM determines are the program-wide weighted average of premiums in effect each year, for Self Only and for Self and Family enrollments, respectively, or (2) 75 percent of the total premium for the particular plan an enrollee selects.
How does this compare with your medical coverage? Good question. Here's the cost of Blue Cross Blue Shield fee for service plan. There are many other insurance companies also. This is just the one most choose. It's right out of the benefit plan (http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/rates/ ... fs2010.pdf
Begin Quote: (Slight Edit to make it fit)Biweekly costs
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan
Total Cost 186.02
Gov't pays 139.52
Empl. pays 46.50
Total Cost 435.66
Gov't pays 326.75
Empl. pays 108.91
The medical coverage run by OPM is the public option that is being talked about. I do not have it, my wife as a Federal retiree does. Comparing it to the private company retiree insurance I have, it's similar, better in some ways not so good in others. In addition we both pay Medicare part B premiums. Because of a quirk in the law she pays more for Medicare part B than I do.Some version of the OPM contracted medical coverage is what is talked about as the public option. Again it is NOT government run, it's insurance company run. What the insurance companies don't like about it is universal coverage and not being able to cheery pick it's customers.
I post this here because much of what has be bitched about here is without facts. Hopefully what I have posted can be used to move the debate to a more intelligent discussion, rather than the biased opinion of TV and radio commentators and political parties.
This great country is headed for a train wreck. The staggering deficit costs, the general decline in a civil political debate, wars without end and no way to pay for it and on and on. It's a good thing most other countries are worst off.
So my word of wisdom, to posters, is think about what you are posting. Think about what you are saying before you hit the send key. Do you really believe the BS you are being feed? Have you shaped your views based on it rather than verifiable facts. Post the facts first, then your opinion. Verifiable facts ... just because it's on the internet, TV, etc. doesn't make it true.