Long Island Coalition for a National Health Plan

February 22, 2008

The Myth That Will Not Die

Filed under: healthcare, Insurance — Tags: , , , , , — nhplan @ 3:00 am

just another myth Independent Voice

The Myth That Will Not Die
by Joe Kane
March 6, 2003 [with updates for 2008]

What do Senators Trent Lott, Orrin Hatch, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and all the members of congress have in common? They are all beneficiaries of the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan known as FEHB, an elitist health insurance program that has a grossly misunderstood myth built around it.

I call it elitist, because it can only work for some at the expense of others, never for the whole country. And yet, for more than a decade, some politician is on occasion saying that the FEHB is the model for solving the problem of millions of Americans being without health care coverage.

Of course it never comes to pass as it is a myth, and the number of uninsured keeps increasing, while our health care system stays on its course to collapse. Now once again the myth of the FEHB as a model to solve our growing health care crisis and “reform” Medicare, is being touted again, and tragically by two of my favorite well meaning
Senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, as well as President Bush and Senator Frist. (In 2008, Hillary Clinton has gotten on board too.)

Trying to understand FEHB started for me with a famous weekly talk show back in the early 90s, during the debate on Clinton’s Health Plan. Washington reporter Lisa Meyers on Meet The Press, questioned Newt Gingrich about his health insurance. He said he paid about $400 a month. The following night she pointed out: “He pays only $104 a month and the Government pays $404 a month! When asked why he misrepresented the facts, his answer was that he made a mistake.

Duh! Possibly a deliberate lie?

That was my eye opener, so I called the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, (more…)

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