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206807 tn?1331939784

Here’s Why Federal Workers Don’t Want Obamacare

“If the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court, along with all their staffs, are required to go under Affordable Healthcare Act, I would not object,” read one response to a survey conducted by FedSmith.com, a portal for information regarding issues — like the Affordable Care Act — that impact federal workers. “But if it’s not good enough for the heads of the 3 branches of Government, it isn’t good enough for the rest of us.”

There were more than 800 written responses in total, a great majority of them expressing the same idea: Federal employees are not pleased at having the Federal Employees Health BenefitsProgram replaced by Obamacare.

The underlying complaint running through a majority of these opinions was that members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff, and Obama administration appointees will not be affected by potential Obamacare flaws — like premium hikes — as much as the average American.

“When they ‘live it,’ they will know how to improve it,” another respondent wrote.

The survey of 2,500 federal employees and retirees found that 92.3 percent of them believe workers and retirees should keep keep their current health insurance and not be forced to purchase coverage through the exchanges. Only 2.9 percent thought the opposite. The preference for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program was even more obvious when survey respondents were asked whether they think federal employees should carry their health insurance into retirement, as is the current policy, or enroll in Medicare; 96.1 percent said the current system should not be changed.
When Congress first passed the health care reform, known colloquially as Obamacare, three years ago, attached was an amendment requiring all lawmakers and their staffs to purchase health care insurance via the online exchanges. This meant lawmakers would lose the generous coverage they were granted under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program – where the government subsidized as much as 75 percent of the premiums.

It was written into the bill in the first place on the theory that if Congress was going to make Americans live under the provisions of Obamacare, those who authored it should, as well. But because the language of the amendment contained no guidance on whether the federal contributions toward their health plans was allowed, Congress began to worry.

However, the Office of Personnel Management, with President Barack Obama’s consent, ruled August 7 that Congress members and staff would continue to receive the federal contributions toward their health insurance costs.

In April, Michigan Republican Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced legislation that would shift all federal employees from FEHBP to the exchanges. “If the ObamaCare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress, and federal employees,” said Camp’s spokeswoman in a statement.
And now that the Office of Personnel Management has made its decision regarding benefits for Congress, all other federal workers are becoming more worried.

The National Treasury Employees Union — which includes employees of the Internal Revenue Service — asked its members in late July to write to their representatives regarding their concern about Camp’s legislative efforts. “I am a federal employee and one of your constituents,” began one letter. “I am very concerned about legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Dave Camp to push federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and into the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.”

The argument is that pushing federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program would be unfair. “It would be unjust to change the rules after I have spent the majority of my working life in a public service career that is not as lucrative as the private sector when the career decision to forgo private sector lucre now was in large part made in response to the promise that benefits would be much better for public service employees when they retire,” wrote another respondent. “I relied upon and take action in response to the promises that were made, so not living up to the promises amount to a fraud that changed my entire career path.”
16 Responses
Avatar universal
Gee! My first thought are all those who lost their pensions after years and years of promises only to be left holding an empty bag. With that said, it was the republican initiative that said Congress should have to abide by the same exchanges under obamacare as the public, and they got their wish. Fitting isnt it?
Avatar universal
"It would be unjust....."  Welcome to the real world, cupcake.
973741 tn?1342346373
Teko, are you saying that Democrats knew Obamacare would stink so they were right to not want federal employees to have to be subjected to it?  That Republicans were wrong to suggest that federal employees be part of the program because the program isn't appealing when it comes to fruition?  

I was looking at the prices of the exchange in my state.  I think for some, the prices will come as a welcomed thing as they've had trouble finding insurance but for just as many, they are going to see it as a burden that they now have to carry.  Nothing less than 300 plus a month with a fairly high deductible for an individual and those living pay check to pay check, they won't like that if they've been going without insurance.  Some live pay check to pay check that aren't poor by the way---  some just live beyond their means.  I see that in my neighborhood.  Moms complaining they have no savings, that they are hoping to have money to cover electric the next month and they live in a 400,000 house and drive a really nice car with the hobby of clothes shopping being their favorite.  They see all bills as a bad thing because they want to spend their money on the 'fun' stuff.  

I also noticed that trips to the ER will become a thing of the past unless it is a true emergency (which is a good thing, I guess) as they are very pricey with each exchange offering.  

As to pensions---  well, I don't know about federal pensions but city govt. pensions drive me nuts.  Those double dippers are the ones that ruined the program for themselves.  Those that worked the system in my area have caused it to fall apart.

I personally want the deal that presidents and senators and congressmen have---  
206807 tn?1331939784
From what I understand, it is a Republican that is still pushing the issue ,” In April, Michigan Republican Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced legislation that would shift all federal employees from FEHBP to the exchanges. “If the ObamaCare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress, and federal employees,” said Camp’s spokeswoman in a statement.”

I don’t really look at is as a Republican/Democrat issue. It’s forcing the Government (all of them) to abide by what they deem “A Great Deal” for the rest of us. Why should us Tax Payers have to pay for their Insurance?
Avatar universal
I don’t really look at is as a Republican/Democrat issue. It’s forcing the Government (all of them) to abide by what they deem “A Great Deal” for the rest of us. Why should us Tax Payers have to pay for their Insurance?

Exactly R. In my own way that was what I was trying to say and didnt do a very good job of it, the other part of my response at this point is why bother to engage because we have a huge campaign going on and have had where millions and millions of dollars are being spent to kill obamacare. The latest effort to shutdown the government over it and then to put the whole thing off for another year.

This link explains obamacare and until people actually understand how it works? Its a useless conversation.

specialmom, I think you will find that if the state you live in is a republican led state, obamacare premiums will be higher than they need be as a concerted effort to undermine the program. That is what is going on here in florida.

Another would be to understand that exchanges are still being set up so to get a quote at this point in time is only a guestimate at best. There are subsidys in place and your premium is supposed to be based on household income and family size. In states where they are denying the expansion of medicaid, those people (the poorest among us will not be able to participate and as such will pay no penalty). As far as those already having insurance thru their employer? Nothing changes other than you too get the perks of the ACA like being allowed to have children on your policy until age 25. No caps on care, making sure your insurer pays 80 percent on health care or issue rebates, pre existing for children is currently covered, and pre existing for adults to kick in in 2015, along with preventative care like cancer screening and such free of charge. ALL people get these perks unless you are in a grandfathered in healthcare plan as I understand.

Like I said, personally, I think single payor would have been the route and with all the obstruction over obamacare, we may get it anyway in the end.

One of the problems with the exchanges and say staffers, is that currenly much like your employer, we pay a percentage of their healthcare and they were not sure how that was going to work. As it stands that will continue even under the exchanges.

When coverage will be given to 30 million people and 60 percent of those already insured experience the extras I outlined, I need an explannation as to how this is a bad thing?

What is the republican replacement? Last I heard there is none.
Avatar universal
This is an example of the games Scott is playing in Florida. Is the same thing happening in your republican led state? Im betting it is.

"What has been done by your elected officials in Florida is sabotage"

The Tampa Bay Times' John Romano writes that "the worst part of this story — the part that should make you tremble with anger — is that your elected officials did this to you. And they did it on purpose."

That would include your state Senate. That would include your state House.
And that would include your governor.

In case you missed the headlines, your leaders recently decided that the state insurance commissioner's power to negotiate rates should be suspended for the next two years. Now, monitoring rates is a large part of the commissioner's job, so it's not like this was some insignificant procedural move.

So why was it done?

Well, upon signing this ridiculous piece of legislation, Gov. Rick Scott suggested it made sense for legislators to hand over review of rates to the federal government during the first two years of the Affordable Care Act.

I see two ways of deciphering that explanation: Either your elected officials are ignorant, or their excuse is a load of hooey. I'm going with hooey.

Romano continues - "Bottom line? No one is saying Republicans have to be cheerleaders for the Affordable Care Act. They are free to grumble about it as much as they like."
But this nonsense is different. It is neither true debate, nor is it constructive. What has been done by your elected officials in Florida is sabotage. And the worst part is they don't give a dang that you might be collateral damage.
"Elected officials abandoned consumers on Obamacare".
A related editorial from the Times editorial board: "By refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature left a million poor residents without health care coverage and turned away billions in federal money. Senate President Don Gaetz sent a list of questions to the Obama administration this summer that ask for more flexibility and has not received a response. The administration should answer with a resounding "no," because states should not be given a loophole that allows them to deprive some needy residents of coverage." "Denying health coverage isn't progress".
Avatar universal

Guess it would have helped to actually supply the link eh? Sorry
973741 tn?1342346373
Well, here is the thing, the premiums aren't high compared to what other people who pay for insurance through their employer pay.  They are comparable.  But it still isn't cheap.  people who do not see health care as something they should participate in spending money on will not like that they now have to do it.  And it's not cheap for any of us.  
973741 tn?1342346373
Oh, and by the way, if it were a lot cheaper, it would make people like me a little ticked because it wouldn't be fair for them to get comparable insurance at cheaper rates.  So, I get why the rates are as they are.  I just think there are going to be a lot of folks who don't like it when they are told they have to have it.  It's in their best interest (I guess) but you know . . .   they'd rather have that new car.  
Avatar universal
Is this relevant? I think it addresses a core problem.

Social immobility erodes the American dream
By Fareed Zakaria,August 14, 2013

If there’s one issue on which both the left and right agree, it is the crisis of declining mobility. The American dream at its core is that a person, no matter his or her background, can make it here. A few weeks ago, four economists at Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley released a path-breaking study of mobility within the United States. And last week the Journal of Economic Perspectives published a series of essays tackling the question from an international standpoint. The research is careful and nuanced, yet it does point in one clear direction. The question is, will Washington follow it?

For more than a decade, it has been documented that Northern European countries do better at moving poor people up the ladder than the United States does. Some have dismissed these findings, pointing out that the United States cannot be compared with places such as Denmark, an ethnically homogeneous country of 5.5 million people. But Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa points out in his contribution to the Journal of Economic Perspectives that Canada is a very useful point of comparison, being much like the United States. (The percentage of foreign-born Canadians is actually higher than the percentage of foreign-born Americans, for example.) And recent research finds that people in Canada and Australia have twice the economic mobility of Americans. (The British are about the same as Americans but much worse than Canadians and Australians. )

What’s intriguing is that many of the factors that seem to explain the variation across countries also help explain the variation across the United States. The most important correlation in the Harvard-Berkeley study appears to be social capital. Cities with strong families, civic support groups and a community-service orientation do well on social and economic mobility. That’s why Salt Lake City — dominated by Mormons — has mobility levels that compare with Denmark’s. This would also explain why America in general fares badly; the United States has many more broken families, single parents and dysfunctional domestic arrangements than do Canada and Europe.

The other notable feature in the Harvard-Berkeley study is the design of cities. Places that are segregated — where the poor live far from the middle class — do much worse than those that are more mixed. This probably has to do with geography; it’s hard to get to jobs when they are far away. It also might mean that people in poor neighborhoods end up in a self-reinforcing cycle of under-funded schools, high crime and social breakdown. A related finding is that places with high African American populations show low mobility for the white population living there as well. The economist Jeffrey Sachs suggested to me that this could be explained by the fact that in areas where there are substantial minority populations, people often resist making large public investments, which might turn out to hurt everyone who lives in the area.

In any event, these factors, while important, might be difficult to change in any reasonable period of time. Social capital cannot be built in five years. Cities cannot be quickly redesigned to be integrated or create greater density. That leaves the last large factor in explaining the low mobility: public policy. And here, Corak explains, the United States is the great outlier. Simply put, the United States spends much less on the education and well-being of poor people, especially poor children, than any other rich country — and that retards their chances of escaping poverty.

A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development points out that the United States is one of only three rich countries that spends less on disadvantaged students than on other students — largely because education funding for elementary and secondary schools in the United States is tied to local property taxes. By definition, poor neighborhoods end up with badly funded schools. In general, the United States spends lots of money on education, but most of it is on college education or is otherwise directed toward those already advantaged in various ways.

There is debate about the effectiveness of certain early education programs such as Head Start. It may be that providing help to “at-risk families” — treating drug-addicted mothers for example — has a bigger impact on children than a specific enrichment program. Though, clearly, most of us believe that these enrichment programs work. Corak points out that the well-off in the United States spend nearly $9,000 a year on books, computers, child care and summer camps — nearly seven times what families in the bottom fifth of earners spend. In fact, this is part of what makes mobility low.

In any event, what’s apparent is that countries — and most parts of the United States — that invest heavily in all their children’s health care, nutrition and education end up with a much stronger ladder of opportunity and access. And that’s something we can change. So if we want to restore the American dream, we now have the beginnings of a path forward.

973741 tn?1342346373
Interesting read mike.  the only thing that I do think this article leaves out is that school districts who receive less money through property taxes and is a 'poorer' district often gets federal money that the 'richer' school districts don't get.  They often mismanage that money and build expensive new buildings.  This is true inner city as well as rural areas.  My school district has old buildings that frankly are a problem.  My kids go to a school built 60 years ago in the California open concept of walking outside to get to different things (we live where it snows and is cold) as well as no air conditioning (it's going to be 90 degrees on their first day of school . . .  oh and they have two, old casement windows that open just a small amount), holes in the roof, etc.  But we are a rich school district so get no extra money.  We also are ranked excellent with distinction. We've passed levies to keep education standards high and services for kids but building levies aren't passing right now even though we desperately need one.   Go 50 miles east into a rural, poorer area and they have beautiful new schools.  But don't provide music or art to the kids because they use federal money for buildings. They also have academic watch statuses.  But they have state of the art facilities.  

That was a just a side note.  

And I personally think the concept of helping parents will ultimately help the children is very true.  

But I look at the programs that have been in place to help people change patterns.  I'm not sure what else can be done.  I think having decent jobs for those that are not college bound will help.  So people can live a life maybe not full of luxury but eating properly, living properly, etc.  

Okay, just off on a tangent.  Sorry.  Anyway, yes.  I think we have some fundamental problems and I hope that both sides can look at them honestly and try to help the situation rather than just keep fighting about it.  
Avatar universal
It's bad now but it could get a lot worse.

Fiscal Cliff Ignites Education Activism As Poorest School Districts Stand To Lose The Most

Posted: 11/14/2012 6:42 pm EST Updated: 11/15/2012 9:52 am EST

".....Though federal spending accounts for about 8 percent of all education dollars, the U.S. contribution is larger in poorer areas. According to an analysis by the New America Foundation, large districts such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami-Dade rely on federal funding for more than 15 percent of their budgets. Milwaukee and Chicago use U.S. cash to sponsor more than one fifth of their schools' costs.

Smaller districts would feel the cuts even more. Greensburg Unified School District relies on the federal government for 85.5 percent of its revenue, and would lose a full 17 percent of its budget. St. Bernard Parish School District in Louisiana counts on the feds for 65.5 percent, and would lose 13.1 percent of its revenue.

"There are districts that are going to be hammered, and they're all high-poverty districts," Bruce Hunter, a lobbyist with the American Association of School Administrators, told The Huffington Post. Hunter is meeting with Capitol Hill staffers and asking his members to contact their government representatives to urge them to work out a deal. "We're just saying don't cut education any more than anybody else, but also try to avoid the deep cuts of sequestration that don't take into account the various value of programs," he said........."


Pa. House Budget Locks in Most School Funding Cuts in
State Budget and Tax Policy

Updated: June 21, 2013

"....The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a 2013-14 budget bill (HB 1437, PN 2003) on June 12 that locks in 84% of the cuts to public school classrooms enacted in 2011 and 2012, cuts that have disproportionately impacted high-poverty school districts. A small increase in basic education funding included in the bill leaves overall state funding for education in 2013-14 below 2008-09 levels, when adjusted for inflation. Barring significant changes in the final agreement between the House, Senate and Corbett administration, the current plan will serve as the framework for the final budget spending plan...."


Funding public education is a core responsibility of state government. Over the past two years, Pennsylvania has stepped back from this responsibility, resulting in a shifting of costs to local taxpayers and the loss of educational opportunities for Pennsylvania children. The current 2013-14 budget plan promises more of the same, as it falls well short of filling the funding gap created in 2011-12. Students in poorer districts are bearing a larger share of the cuts that remain, which will make it harder for students with the greatest challenges to achieve....."

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