NARFE Disappointed in Committee Action on USPS Reform Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 16, 2017
Alexandria, VA – The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) is deeply disappointed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, H.R. 756, without addressing the serious concerns of 76,000 postal retirees who would be forced to enroll in Medicare under the bill.

NARFE President Richard G. Thissen issued the following statement:

NARFE President Thissen

“There are many solutions to the financial problems facing the U.S. Postal Service, all of which the Committee unfortunately has rejected in favor of balancing the books of the USPS on the backs of its retirees. In doing so, this legislation forces 76,000 current postal retirees who are satisfied with their current health insurance coverage to pay an additional $1,600 per year, or more, to receive coverage through Medicare.

“While the majority of federal and postal retirees choose Medicare when they turn age 65, those without it actively made the decision not to enroll. The reasons for doing are numerous and personal, and it was their choice. That choice should not be eliminated now because Congress is unwilling to make more politically difficult decisions.

“After finishing long careers with USPS, postal retirees should not be threatened with the loss of their health insurance entirely if they do not buy additional coverage through Medicare. This not only eliminates choice with regard to health insurance for postal retirees living on fixed incomes, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for all federal retirees. The committee is sending all retirees a very dangerous message with approval of this bill – we can, and will, change your retirement benefits, after you’ve retired and are living on fixed incomes, without regard to whether or not you can afford it.

“NARFE, as an organization representing postal retirees and as a customer of the Postal Service, is committed to supporting legislation that provides much needed reforms to USPS that allow for its long-term stability. However, we remain disappointed that the Committee failed to once again consider our simple, fair and reasonable alternative: maintain automatic enrollment of current postal retirees into Medicare Part B, but provide them with a short opt-out window of 60 or 90 days. Without this option, the bill breaks an unwritten promise regarding retiree health benefits and replaces the individual postal retiree’s choice of health insurance with a paternalistic requirement, at significant cost to the Medicare program.”

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The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/retiree organization, NARFE represents the retirement interests of nearly five million current and future federal annuitants, spouses and survivors.

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