Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • The House Federal Workforce and Postal Service Subcommittee held a business meeting on September 18 at which it approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis (R Va) and others to allow federal retirees the opportunity to pay the FEHB plan premiums pre-tax. The House Ways and Means Committee has been an obstacle to passage of this bill because of its adverse impact on tax revenues.
  • The Office of Management and Budget has updated its agency ratings on the ExpectMore.gov web site. OPM’s ratings are here. The FEHB Program is rated adequate.
  • The OPM Inspector General’s oversight of the FEHB Program is rated effective at Expectmore.gov. This week the OPM Director submitted the agency’s response to the Inspector General’s most recent semi-annual report to Congress.
  • The New York Times reported that prescription drug prices have increased only 1% on average over the past twelve months according to the U.S. Labor Department. According to the report, “Economists say the slowdown has come about because more people are turning to generics and because generic versions of some of the most common drugs have recently come on the market.” The article notes the inexpensive prices that retailer such as Wal-Mart and Target, charge for certain generic drugs. Also it notes that last month the Publix Supermarket chain started a promotion under which its Florida pharmacies provide seven commonly prescribed generic oral antibiotics for free with a valid prescription, even when the purchaser has health benefits.
  • Today’s New York Times includes an interesting article about the return of physician house calls provided by companies such as Inn-House Doctor, Sickday Medical House Calls, and My Home Doctor. The fees run from $250 to $450 per visit.