Feb 1, 2017 Alexandria, VA – National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) urged members of Congress to oppose the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, H.R. 756, which was introduced yesterday by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, along with the co-sponsorship of Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, D-MD, and Reps. Mark Meadows, R-NC, Dennis A. Ross, R-FL, Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA, and Stephen F. Lynch, D-MA.
NARFE President Richard G. Thissen issued the following statement:
“There are simple solutions to the financial problems facing the U.S. Postal Service, such as eliminating the prefunding requirement outright, but this bill takes a more complicated route – forcing current postal retirees and survivors who are satisfied with their current health insurance coverage to pay an additional $134 per month, or more, through Medicare to keep it.
“The reason for doing so is unconvincing. It is simply so the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) can save money in a manner that avoids more politically difficult decisions.
“This is not the only path forward. Why not allow USPS to raise the price of postage to a more reasonable amount, instead of continuing to heavily subsidize the business of bulk mailers? Why not permit USPS to ship alcohol or provide more financial services? Why not allow USPS to pay its health insurance bills when they are due, and not before, by ending the burdensome prefunding requirement? Unfortunately, this bill avoids making those more difficult decisions. Instead, the bill unfairly places the full burden of balancing the Postal Service’s books on the backs of 76,000 postal retirees and their survivors.
“Postal retirees should not now, after finishing long careers with USPS, be threatened with the loss of their health insurance entirely if they do not buy additional coverage through Medicare. This not only eliminates choice with regard to health insurance for postal retirees living on fixed incomes, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for all federal retirees.
“NARFE has offered an alternative that is simple, fair and reasonable: maintain automatic enrollment of current postal retirees into Medicare Part B, but provide them with a short opt-out window of 60 or 90 days. Without this option, the bill breaks a promise regarding postal retiree health benefits and replaces the individual postal retiree’s choice of health insurance with a paternalistic requirement, at significant cost to the Medicare program.”