Friday, October 20, 2017


The FEHBlog is poised for another trip out of town so this will be quick.

Dr. Jeff T.H. Pon's confirmation hearing for the OPM Director position went smoothly on Wednesday. The Federal Times report is here. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's chair Sen. Ron Johnson (R Wisc.) warned that he would put a hold on Dr. Pon's nomination (as he did on Beth Cobert's 2015 nomination) if OPM fails to fully cooperate with his request for records explaining OPM's 2013 decision to extend an FEHBP government contribution to members of Congress and their staffs to use in the DC small business marketplace or SHOP.  Dr. Pon advised that OPM is working on the request. Sen. Tom Carper (D. Del.) suggested that he and Sen. Johnson work out a bipartisan compromise to fund an employer contribution for staff healthcare. That makes sense to me. That is what Congress should have done in 2013.

Yesterday, the Senate passed by a 51-49 vote an FY 2018 budget resolution that the Senate expects the House to accept.  The House had passed its own budget resolution that included a reconciliation instruction requiring the House Government Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee to cut $32 billion in spending. The resolution suggested that the Committee look at reforming federal employee pensions and some concern was expressed that the Committee would change the FEHBP government contribution formula. However, as Federal News Radio reports, the Senate budget resolution does not include the reconciliation instruction that has been causing general distress.

The Health Affairs Blog reports on effort in the FEHBlog's home state of Maryland to promote health care transparency. Good luck with that.

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