Weekend update

Congress remains in session this coming week on Capitol Hill. Here’s a link to the Week in Congress’s one web page account of last week’s activities on the Hill.  The House Oversight and Government Reform is holding a business meeting Wednesday morning to mark up a few bills. The postal reform bill is not one of them.  We shall see whether the Republican health care re-reform bill surfaces this week.

The FEHBlog hopes that the Republicans unveil a bill that will attract some support across the aisle. There is no doubt that the ACA needs to be overhauled. The last thing that the FEHBlog wants to see is Obamacare replaced by Trumpcare or Ryancare. Some form of bi-partisan bill would help insure a desirable degree of  permanency in the new legislation.

The FEHBlog was pleased to hear a radio interview with House Speaker Paul Ryan in which he indicated that the House reform bill will level the tax playing field.  An idea that the FEHBlog has seen floated around is to impose income tax on annual health insurance premiums above $8,000 for self only and $26,000 for other than self only. That assumes an average family size of 3.25.

Because the average family size in the FEHBP is closer to two people than 3.25 people, the average FEHB premiums for self only currently are close to $8,000 but the average premiums for other than self only are well below $26,000 annually. It would be a lot more equitable to allow all lower and middle income taxpayers whether covered under group or individual plans to continue to enjoy the exclusion while all higher income people lose half of the exclusion like self-employed business owners do today.

While we wait to see what develops, take a look at this Robert Woods Johnson Foundation tool which allows you to compare health costs among 500 U.S. cities.