Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In his letter to The Washington Times (“Double standard of living,” Letters, Friday), John Blanenship raises the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program for civilian employees as an example of government-run health insurance. Mr. Blanenship argues that those in Congress who are covered by the FEHB and oppose the president’s health care reform efforts oppose them to deny the president a “win.”

The FEHB program is not government-run health insurance. The federal government administers the program and develops the minimum terms that private insurance providers must meet. Private insurers then bid for the business of individual federal employees, who are offered a wide variety of plans with different features and prices. The employee determines which plan is best for himself.

This is quite the opposite of the single-payer and other “one size fits all” models that some would like to see, because it offers the individual employee choices and the benefits of competition. Some who have pushed for health insurance reform point to the FEHB as an example of a something that should be adopted more widely.



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