Wake Up, Senate

….Another federal program [is] an excellent model for sorely needed Medicare reform.

It’s the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program or FEHBP. It covers 9 million federal employees and retirees and routinely offers up to two dozen health plans, all of which have prescription drugs. And it’s not some new-fangled program, either. It’s been around since 1960, five years before Medicare started.

The House calls for a pluralistic FEHBP-like system to be in place by 2010. But the Senate does not. Instead, it offers a one-size-fits-all prescription drug entitlement that will cost $432 billion in the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

FEHBP is a good model because it works. Why senators ignore it, we’ll never know.

Heritage Medicare Malady #38, September 5

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