In Mid-March, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation to replace Medicare with the health care plan currently offered to federal and congressional employees.
The Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act would allow seniors to select any of the plans currently offered under the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, starting in 2014.
Co-sponsors of the legislation include Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Mike Lee (R-Utah). Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said “Medicare as we know it is a false promise. It is unsustainable. Why don’t we take a program that’s worked for years in a fashion that people can relate to? If it’s good enough for your senator, it ought to be good enough for you.”
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Joseph Beaudoin said the bill raises serious concerns. “For more than four decades, the FEHBP has provided a stable, though not overly generous health insurance benefit to federal civilian employees, retirees and their dependents. To throw open the doors of the plan to absorb the flood of seniors currently enrolled in Medicare poses certain risks and must be examined closely.”
Sen. Paul did acknowledge in his report on the Bill that the plan was not necessarily beneficial to federal employees. “Federal employees are the one group who may have a legitimate argument with the Congressional Health Care Plan for Seniors. Asking them to share their health care with the elderly will cause premiums to increase.” However, the change is expected to save taxpayers $1 trillion dollars over 10 years by more efficient use of the federal programs already in existence.
What do you think of the proposal? Are overall savings to the federal budget (and deficit) worth paying a higher personal health care cost or would you rather Congress find other ways to save the money and/or change Medicare? Let us know in the comments.