The House recently passed a bill that will guarantee the prescription-drug benefits federal retirees get from their private health plans — inoculating former federal employees against the impact of the Medicare prescription-drug bill Congress just enacted for the rest of America.
Under the bill, every federal retiree can be assured of a drug benefit at least as valuable as those now available to active federal employees — that these employees choose from a variety of competing private health plans. According to the New York Times, federal employees now get drug benefits worth about 50 percent more than those in the Medicare bills recently passed by the Congress.
Millions of retired Americans with drug coverage from private employers won’t be so lucky. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if either version of the congressional Medicare bills becomes law, roughly 1 in 3 private-sector retirees would lose the drug coverage their former employer now provides and would be dumped into the new government drug benefit.
Millions of seniors would lose the private coverage they have known and trusted most of their adult lives and be forced into a government-run program that offers significantly poorer benefits with higher out-of-pocket costs.