(Washington, D.C.)—"Over the past six years, the average health care premium for government employees has increased 61 percent," Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), will point out in upcoming testimony before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Civil Service. The hearing will take place on:
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2002 11 a.m., Room 2247 Rayburn House Office Building
"The time has come for the federal government to improve its funding of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and provide government employees with a better premium split,” Harnage will add. The union leader will point out that large employers in the private sector and several large states pay at least 80 percent and often 100 percent of premiums. He will urge lawmakers to support legislation introduced in the 107th Congress (H.R. 1307 and S. 1982) that would change the financing formula for FEHBP so that agencies would pay approximately 80 percent of the premiums.
Harnage will also blast the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) decision to grant FEHBP carriers a permanent waiver from the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) and its introduction of highly destructive Personal Care Accounts (PCAs).
"Because of its poor structure and the ability of its participating insurance carriers to use their financial and political power to manipulate OPM administrative decisions, taxpayers, federal employees and retirees pay far too much for the benefits they receive under the program," Harnage will conclude. "In addition, the formula for determining federal employees' financial burden for FEHBP undermines the competitiveness of the entire federal compensation package and contributes to the government's ongoing problems in recruiting and retaining the next generation of federal employees."
AFGE is the largest union for government employees, representing some 600,000 government employees working for the federal government and the District of Columbia. Visit www.afge.org to learn more about AFGE.