USPS Says It’s Time to Turn the “Paige” on This Tired, Old Tale

Leslie_Paige

Leslie K. Paige of the Citizens Against Government Waste

9/1/17 Imagine our delight when we discovered yet another writer helping us to promote our Solar Eclipse Forever stamps! It’s one of the most popular stamps in recent times, and we really appreciate the shout out.

However, our excitement was followed by dismay as we continued reading and saw that for the second time in five months, Leslie K. Paige of the Citizens Against Government Waste is misrepresenting facts concerning the Postal Service and the urgent need for passage of H.R. 756, the postal reform legislation currently pending before Congress.

While Ms. Paige presents a litany of misstatements, it’s important for us to focus on setting the record straight on some major issues. The reality is that enactment of H.R.756, along with a favorable resolution of the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) 10-year pricing system review and continued aggressive management actions to control costs and grow revenue, will enable the Postal Service to meet its financial obligations and continue to provide affordable, reliable, and secure delivery service to every business and home in America for years to come.

The centerpiece of H.R. 756 is its requirement that postal retirees generally enroll in Medicare, which would ensure that the Postal Service’s retiree health benefits program aligns with private sector best practices. In this regard, it is a universal practice for businesses that still provide retiree health benefits to fully integrate with Medicare.  Indeed, the Postal Service and its employees have paid over $31 billion in Medicare taxes.  While most postal annuitants enroll in Medicare, some annuitants do not, to the detriment of the Postal Service and those who do enroll.  H.R. 756 simply requires that postal annuitants take advantage of the Medicare benefits that they have paid for.

The ten-year review is also critical because the current regulatory structure governing our ability to adjust prices of market-dominant products, which produce more than 70 percent of our revenue, is predicated on an austere price cap that does not take changes in Postal Service volumes and costs into account. As the past decade has clearly shown, this system is wholly unsuitable to ensuring the Postal Service’s continued ability to provide prompt and reliable universal services, and meet our other statutory obligations, in a self-sufficient manner. The Postal Service simply seeks a structure that gives us the ability to set prices at levels necessary to ensure our financial stability.

The Postal Service currently charges rates that are among the lowest in the industrialized world, and posts throughout the world have used price increases as one tool to address the financial challenges of declining demand for the mail. Despite Ms. Paige’s baseless claim to the contrary, the evidence shows that the Postal Service also has the ability to use price increases as one means of addressing its current financial condition. Moreover, under the Postal Service’s proposal, the rates for market-dominant products would continue to be comprehensively regulated by the PRC. However, given the characteristics of the current postal marketplace, there is simply no longer a need for a price cap to ensure that the Postal Service has strong incentives to operate efficiently and to set reasonable prices.

It is also absurd to indicate, as Ms. Paige does, that the Postal Service is “questioning” the value of workshare discounts as part of the 10-year review.  There is no doubt as to the value of the worksharing program.  Rather, the Postal Service is simply opposed to the imposition of a regulatory mandate that it use a single, rigid pricing approach when setting the level of those discounts.  The Postal Service instead seeks the preserve the flexibility that it has today in making pricing decisions regarding workshare discounts.

The Postal Service has made, and is making, tremendous strides on not only service, but in right-sizing our network and infrastructure within the constraints of our existing business model and current legal obligations, increasing workforce flexibility, and establishing a more affordable, two-tiered wage system. This aggressive agenda of cost cutting, efficiency improvements, and innovation has resulted in approximately $14 billion in annual savings.

Studies consistently show that the Postal Service is one of the most efficient posts in the world. We have also been very successful in growing package volume and revenue, which provides critical support to maintaining the network needed to deliver to each and every address in the United States, six days a week, and to provide to every American mail delivery no matter where they live, at an affordable rate.

There is a sensible path forward that depends upon the passage of provisions in the H.R. 756 postal reform bill, combined with a favorable outcome of the PRC’s 10-year pricing system review. Once enacted, and together with regulatory reform and aggressive management actions, the Postal Service can meet all of our obligations and continue to improve the way we serve the American public.

7 thoughts on “USPS Says It’s Time to Turn the “Paige” on This Tired, Old Tale

  1. Get rid of the Triboro,NYC,Brooklyn,Queens,Sta-
    ten Island, and nearby 110’s(bordering Nassau county mails) USPS District. There are likely worthwhile savings,in eliminating the Triboro District Manager’s office,which is currently located in Brooklyn(112),NY. Of course,scrapping the Triboro District,would also eliminate;other highly-paid and highly-pensioned management job positions. The Triboro District,has NOT had a single FULL postal-facility,since July 2013. All NYC”originating”(outgoing) mails,and 110’s,have been processed in the Morgan,NY(100) L&DC,only;since then. Even NYC no longer needs,two USPS Districts!!

  2. or see the po mismanagements red ink of 120 Billion loss and default of prefunding since 2009. last month end of the 3rd quarter was 2.1 Billion loss…..do we hear a drum roll? legends in their own mind 2.0!

  3. USPS HQ has their propaganda machine tuned to maximum deception on the issue of postal reform legislation. They continue to misrepresent the facts and appear to be willing to do nearly anything to sell their scheme to Congress and the public. Most of the “savings” in H.R. 756 is from a increase in rates which will likely occur anyway as a result of the Postal Regulatory Commissions current review of rates and the rate setting process.

    The USPS says the centerpiece of H.R 756 is forcing all postal retirees to enroll in Medicare Parts A, B and D to retain their earned federal health benefits coverage. This forces duplicate coverage that many retirees neither want or need. Management implies that this is coverage these retirees have already paid for. Not true. Only Part A is already paid for. Part B is not already paid for and, if forced to enroll in Medicare Part B retirees (and spouses) will be required to pay $134 per person, per month for this Medicare coverage. This is $3,200 or more yearly for a retirees and spouse plus the cost of their FEHBP plan. This is more than 10% of the average postal clerk or postal carriers annuity. So the “already paid for” argument is simply false.

    Postal management then states that requiring Medicare is a universal practice. Where this is true this coverage is identified long before a person has retired (usually when they are hired) and often includes supplemental health insurance at low or no cost paid by the employer. A good example is the military’s Tricare. Tricare requires Medicare Part A and B enrollment and includes supplemental coverage which includes prescription drugs at no cost to the retiree or spouse. In no case is it a “universal practice” to come back to retirees after they have retired and tell them to keep the coverage you have earned, now have and that was promised to you by your employer, the US Government, you must now enroll in Medicare. Again a misrepresentation of the truth.

    Management says the economics of the health care plan proposal will save the USPS. Also not true. According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the legislation the health care provision will cost the government $2.6 billion over 10 years and will save the USPS little or nothing. An economic savior, no, just another falsehood perpetrated by USPS senior management to sell their scheme.

    The health care provision in H.R 756 is not good for retirees or employees and should be opposed. The only health care related issue that may need attention is to eliminate or reduce the prefunding requirement. However, even that may not be needed because effective this year prefunding is significantly lower than during each of the past 10 years. This year it is $955 million (which includes all money owed from missed payments by the USPS), down significantly from the nearly $6 billion due last year. Affordable, yes it should be.

  4. Can we please have some concrete facts, for instance: how many is a “few?” This is the same organization shown to have a number of 80 and 90 something’s still out on IOD when Congress investigated.

    What they meant to say was Medicare Part “B.” Part “A” has already been paid for by us and the company and requires no additional premium. I’d like to hear some actual retired folks chime in on Part “B” and whether it’s necessary.

  5. The Postal Service needs to be put back on the federal budget. The current PMG continues to spew the same old rhetoric as PMG Donahue did. Donahue was the Chief Financial Officer for the Postal Service before taking the job as PMG, therefore he knew how to cook the books. What the current PMG fails to discuss is that the Postal Service is still a federal agency and that no other Federal Agencies is trying to force their retiree’s into medicare. The “best practice” they continue to rave about pertains to private businesses and corporations. The United States Postal Service has developed their own special accounting rules that are not accepted standard practices in accounting. Those who are in charge of the PO are not doing what’s best for the PO. When the price of gas skyrockets is the PMG going to create a special accounting trick so the don’t have to pay the bill. I’m sure they’ll move it into the non-controllable column as they have done with the prefunding mandate imposed by congress. CALL your elected officials and ask them to vote against HR 756. Let them know that this bill it is unfair to you because you will be mandated to pay $268.00 per month for medicare part b for you and your spouse on top of paying for you FEHB!

  6. Well Dear Miss Paige, Time to tell your RATPUBLICAN leaches the prefunding of the cost of health care must end, or force every other employer to prefund health care costs! You can thank ex President Forrest Gump and Congress for the wrong law. We all know the same anti government babble you rant over and over again. Let private business run everything. Just let business make lots and lots of money. Your kind wants tyranny to be let free to manage the world.

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