The Democrats did win control of the Senate, and the conventional wisdom about a brief lame duck session that I mentioned on Wednesday has proven to be wrong. The Washington Post reports this morning that the new sense of bipartisanship will lead to a longer lame duck session of the 109th Congress. During the lame duck session, Congress may reverse the statutorily mandated 5% cut in Medicare reimbursement to physicians before that cut takes effect on January 1.
Govexec.com continues to prognosticate about the 110th Congress. According to Govexec.com, NARFE‘s wish list is that the new Congress block any expansions of Health Savings Accounts in the FEHB Program. As you may recall, OPM sent a legislative proposal to Congress last May recommending that Congress amend the FEHB Act to permit the government wide service benefit plan to offer a third HSA option. NARFE also hopes that the new Congress will amend the federal tax code to permit federal and postal annuitants to make their FEHB plan contributions on a pre-tax basis. That proposal has budget ramifications.
NARFE reportedly is banking on the likelihood that Rep. Steny Hoyer will become the Majority Leader in the 110th Congress. Congressman Hoyer, who currently is the minority whip, also has been a proponent of increasing the Government contribution toward FEHB plan coverage (H.R. 633), a proposal which obviously has its own.