The House employe benefits subcommittee resumes hearings on the federal employe health benefits program July 28.
Chairwoman Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio) has introduced legislation that would have the government pay about 75 percent of an employe's health premium.
The government contribution to employe health plans is now set under a complicated formula that is supposed to average out to about 60 percent of the premium. But in fact the federal payment varies--from 40 percent to 75 percent of premium for non-postal employes--depending on the type of plan they select.
At earlier hearings the Office of Personnel Management made a pitch for a voucher system. Under it the government would give employes and retirees a voucher or check each year to purchase health insurance. OPM says that the vouchers would be sufficient to pay the entire premium if individuals chose a standard option, no-frills plan.
Backers of the voucher system maintain that it would result in reduced health care costs for the government by forcing insurance plans to come up with health packages that could be purchased with vouchers.
Opponents of the voucher plan contend that it might entice workers to buy plans that looked good--and were fully paid by the vouchers--but would not cover employes and the families if they were hit with a major medical problem.