Snowzilla Day 1

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang has nicknamed the ongoing winter storm Snowzilla so the FEHBlog will go with that moniker. The snow started early afternoon today and is expected to continue until early Sunday morning.

Earlier today,  OPM announced a number of administation reforms to its personnel background check process in reaction to the massive breach of background check records last year.  A new OPM unit will continue to manage the process while the Defense Department will operate the information technology systems. Here’s a link to a Govexec article with reactions to the announcement.

Yesterday the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Committee held a postal reform hearing. A Federal News Radio account of the hearing can be found here.  The Committee’s ranking minority member, Sen. Tom Carper from Delaware, has been pushing postal reform legislation. With respect to health benefits, Sen. Carper observed in his opening statement that

The most important of these provisions [which the Committee has debated over the years”] address health care costs at the Postal Service, and the fact that the agency is the single largest payer into Medicare yet can’t get full value from the program. I’ve put forward legislation both last year with our former colleague Dr. Coburn and this year with Senators McCaskill, Moran, and Blunt that would allow the Postal Service to do what private business do when they coordinate their retiree health plans with Medicare.  This has the potential to virtually eliminate the unfunded liability for retiree health benefits and save the Postal Service $32 billion over 10 years.

Carper’s iPOST bill would create a Postal Service Health Program within the FEHBP. The PSHP would be fully integrated with Medicare as the Senator indicates.

The FEHBlog also noticed on the Committee’s website that on January 26 at 10 am (assuming Snowzilla does not interfere) the Committee will be holding a hearing on the President’s nomination of Beth Cobert to be the permanent OPM director.

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