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Old 02-28-2008, 03:13 PM   #41
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I think part of it is that taxpayers were more willing to pay for raises and top-notch benefits for government employees when they were getting a similar deal in their private sector job.

But as pensions and retiree health insurance go the way of the dodo in the private sector, I think taxpayer willingness to pay escalating tax burdens in order to secure benefits for others which they don't get themselves starts turning into resentment.
I think it's going to be interesting if we get a Dem pres to go along with the Dem Congress. Normally, an all Dem fed gov would mean good times for fed gov employees. But with the outlook for hefty tax increases on the horizon, citizens may not tolerate widening the advantage fed jobs have over private sector at tax payer expense.

You call it resentment. Many would just label it indignation.

I also think that if a new Dem pres wants us to go to a single payer, same for eveyone health care system, it will be interesting to see if we'll all get the generous health plan fed workers get.......or will fed workers have to settle for a less generous plan provided for the plebian masses.....

I don't think the masses will tolerate being forced onto a universal health plan that fed workers are exempted from because their plan is better. But, as I said, it will be interesting to see.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:30 PM   #42
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I don't think the masses will tolerate being forced onto a universal health plan that fed workers are exempted from because their plan is better. But, as I said, it will be interesting to see.
But remember, federal empoyees have the same health care plan that senators and members of congress have. So they won't mess with their own plan too much.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:38 PM   #43
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But remember, federal empoyees have the same health care plan that senators and members of congress have. So they won't mess with their own plan too much.
Are you saying that any universal plan that gets implemented will be at least equal to what fed workers and congress critters have now? We'll all be on the same plan?
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:18 PM   #44
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I don't think the masses will tolerate being forced onto a universal health plan that fed workers are exempted from because their plan is better. But, as I said, it will be interesting to see.
However, isn't this exactly the situation with social security--it's for the masses only, not for federal workers or fed-level officials??
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:24 PM   #45
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However, isn't this exactly the situation with social security--it's for the masses only, not for federal workers or fed-level officials??
It started out that way. But, as fed workers on this board have told me, it was changed. For some time now, fed workers belong to SS.

There are many state and local gov workers exempt from belonging to SS, however. Many public school teachers, for example.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:59 PM   #46
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Well....I've been a fed worker for almost 31 years now and will retire in 4 yrs, 10 months. First 4.5 yrs of that was active military, the rest civil service with DOD. Since I began my civilian service just prior to the "new" FERS program, I fall under the "old" Civil Service Retirement System, which is more generous than FERS as far as the defined benefit portion. However, even though I am fully qualified for Social Security based on my work record prior to and during my active duty years, PLUS the fact that I've been a member of the Air Force Reserves since 1981 and have paid into SS all that time and will continue to do so, I will barely collect any SS because of being a Fed under the "old" CSRS system. Under this system, I don't pay into SS, but like I said, I was previously qualified for SS by paying into it, and I still pay into it via my military pay. I earned around $15K last year in the reserves and paid SS on most of that pay. Still, I'll get boned for the SS I have earned. I (and a SS rep) calculate that I will collect around $250 per month SS when I reach age 62. Sour grapes, yeah, kinda I guess. But, I'm still looking forward to that glorious day, Jan 18, 2013 when I drive out the gate for the final time.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:52 PM   #47
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I don't think the masses will tolerate being forced onto a universal health plan that fed workers are exempted from because their plan is better.
heh. If fed workers are exempted, it's not a universal plan, is it?
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:21 PM   #48
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I was sent to Monterey for meetings last year. The aquarium brought tears to my eyes - - it was so beautiful. I was only able to get away from meetings and see it over the lunch hour, so I had to practically sprint through it, despite spending $23 for my ticket which seemed like a lot to me. Other than the aquarium trip, I wished I was back at home.
Ah, mention of the Monterey Aquarium brings tears to my eyes as well. During my West Coast techie days, we had a conference in Monterey, and we were invited to a "quick refresher" at the Aquarium at 6 PM. Since I had already visited the aquarium a couple of times, I didn't think much of the invitation. I had visions of a few cheese crackers and some bland wines. When I got there around 7 PM, they had closed the entire aquarium just for us. There were tables of steak, lobster, and sushi throughout the entire place. Waiters and waitresses were going around asking if I needed another beer or wine. Yes, please. The best part was sitting on the balcony looking over the Monterey Bay as the sun set. Those were some heady days.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:49 PM   #49
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it will be interesting to see if we'll all get the generous health plan fed workers get.......

"generous" is a relative term. I would characterize it as a "good" or "decent" plan, but it's certainly not free & I've known folks with better and/or cheaper health insurance plans through their large company private sector employers.

I've put many dedicated career years in with a large organization (the fed govt) - one of the reasons I stuck with it was the health care plan.

It's quite important that we have a relatively stable & non-corrupt govt workforce. Reduce federal employee pay & benefits to the level of WalMart & you will soon have a govt workforce like they do in Mexico. You think you are unhappy with govt services now......
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:08 PM   #50
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"generous" is a relative term. I would characterize it as a "good" or "decent" plan, but it's certainly not free & I've known folks with better and/or cheaper health insurance plans through their large company private sector employers.

I've put many dedicated career years in with a large organization (the fed govt) - one of the reasons I stuck with it was the health care plan.

It's quite important that we have a relatively stable & non-corrupt govt workforce. Reduce federal employee pay & benefits to the level of WalMart & you will soon have a govt workforce like they do in Mexico. You think you are unhappy with govt services now......
However you characterize the current med plan for fed employees, I'm still curious as to whether Barack or Hillary would attempt to offer a national universal plan to the general public that offers any less or costs any more to each individual than the current fed plan does to its members. I think the opponents of a universal health plan could raise quite a ruckus with the public if fed workers received something better than the rest of the population.

My guess is that the public won't tolerate a mandated universal plan that is perceived as inferior to what fed employees have. If we're talking a universal plan, we're probably talking about gov employees being covered as they are in Canada........in the same plan as everyone else.

I'm not trying to propagate the health care plan discussion to this thread beyond the extent that OP should consider that the advantage of having a better health care plan that fed employees enjoy today might not exist some years from now. We'll have to see who our next president is, what they try to implement and how successful they are at the implementation.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:36 AM   #51
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"generous" is a relative term. I would characterize it as a "good" or "decent" plan, but it's certainly not free & I've known folks with better and/or cheaper health insurance plans through their large company private sector employers.

I've put many dedicated career years in with a large organization (the fed govt) - one of the reasons I stuck with it was the health care plan.

It's quite important that we have a relatively stable & non-corrupt govt workforce. Reduce federal employee pay & benefits to the level of WalMart & you will soon have a govt workforce like they do in Mexico. You think you are unhappy with govt services now......
a few thoughts...

here's some hard numbers to work with...pretend you work for uncle sam and go to Office of Personnel Management Insurance Programs Main Page and put in your zip code and select a few plans to do a benefit comparison to your own.

or just to look at bare numbers, see http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/08r...non_postal.pdf
find your state and see the ranges of premiums.

some real data - my current premium for medical insurance as a survivor benefit, self only, with no high deductible, is approx $100 per month, and is self paid. that's a bare bones premium level for a single person with no dependents and of course it goes up from there.

medical insurance premiums for feds tend to be less than retail (private sector) because the insurance companies all have to bid against each other for potentially 100s of 1000s of federal employees. so they have to put their best foot forward to compete for the award. hence lower rates (maybe).

fed medical insurance rates and private sector insurance rates = apples and oranges

in the same way, AARP can get better group rates by the sheer volume of their membership.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:35 AM   #52
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However you characterize the current med plan for fed employees, I'm still curious as to whether Barack or Hillary would attempt to offer a national universal plan to the general public that offers any less or costs any more to each individual than the current fed plan does to its members. I think the opponents of a universal health plan could raise quite a ruckus with the public if fed workers received something better than the rest of the population.

My guess is that the public won't tolerate a mandated universal plan that is perceived as inferior to what fed employees have. If we're talking a universal plan, we're probably talking about gov employees being covered as they are in Canada........in the same plan as everyone else.

I'm not trying to propagate the health care plan discussion to this thread beyond the extent that OP should consider that the advantage of having a better health care plan that fed employees enjoy today might not exist some years from now. We'll have to see who our next president is, what they try to implement and how successful they are at the implementation.
There is a public perception that fed workers have this wonderful plan that is a freebie (or nearly so) paid for with their tax dollars - like I said, yes FEHB is good, but free, no.

As someone pointed out - FEHB works so well because of "competition" - imagine that!!

Private insurers agree to certain rules to be allowed to compete to cover the relatively good risk pool (a risk pool that, by the way, will be completely destroyed if the non-payer uninsurables are allowed in) of wage earning federal employees (who have a bit better track record as a group of being responsible bill-paying people than the general public at large)

Many I've spoken with about federal employment aren't aware that FEHB is actually a bunch of private insurance companies to which the fed employee & the employer (fed govt) pay premiums - they think it's totally free govt paid health care. - a pereception certain politicians (HC) like to turn to their advantage. I've had a few friend's who were surprised at how much premium I do actually pay - as well as co-pays, deductibles, etc.

People don't want to be reminded that FEHB is an "employment" benefit - just like salary - not some kind of health-care welfare. It's politically popular to attack govt employees and their employment benefits.

Since this thread is about the Pros & Cons of federal employment, I guess that's one of the Cons. Another "Con" is that the overall benefits of working for the feds are gradually being reduced administration by administration - and the influence of federal employee unions has been greatly eroded as well (particularly under the current administration)
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:43 AM   #53
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There is a public perception that fed workers have this wonderful plan that is a freebie (or nearly so) paid for with their tax dollars - like I said, yes FEHB is good, but free, no.

As someone pointed out - FEHB works so well because of "competition" - imagine that!!
what he said! good answer...
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:45 AM   #54
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Since this thread is about the Pros & Cons of federal employment, I guess that's one of the Cons. Another "Con" is that the overall benefits of working for the feds are gradually being reduced administration by administration - and the influence of federal employee unions has been greatly eroded as well (particularly under the current administration)
I would submit that this is another example of what I stated above -- taxpayers are getting more and more fed up over paying higher taxes to help a group of other people keep the great benefits most of us no longer get. As a result, there's just enough resistance to ratchet it down a bit -- either across the board or just giving younger/newer hires the screw job relative to older workers (sound familiar?)...
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:49 AM   #55
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Very informative Texarkandy, thanks.

With the info you've provided showing that the fed med plan isn't quite as sweet as generally preceived/assumed by tax payers, it doesn't sound like being moved to a universal plan would be so bad for fed employees after all.

Well...... the next few years will be interesting. Lot's of "change" in the wind!
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:53 AM   #56
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With the info you've provided showing that the fed med plan isn't quite as sweet as generally preceived/assumed by tax payers, it doesn't sound like being moved to a universal plan would be so bad for fed employees after all.
I don't think their health insurance is that much better than what a lot of other private sector folks get...while they are working. It's the benefits they get AFTER they stop working that sets government workers apart -- early retiree health insurance and a pretty fat pension in many cases.
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:19 PM   #57
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Very informative Texarkandy, thanks.

With the info you've provided showing that the fed med plan isn't quite as sweet as generally preceived/assumed by tax payers, it doesn't sound like being moved to a universal plan would be so bad for fed employees after all.

Well...... the next few years will be interesting. Lot's of "change" in the wind!
Everybody's looking for a bogeyman to beat on.
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:20 PM   #58
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.......... and a pretty fat pension in many cases.
Fat?
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:27 PM   #59
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I don't think their health insurance is that much better than what a lot of other private sector folks get...while they are working. It's the benefits they get AFTER they stop working that sets government workers apart -- early retiree health insurance and a pretty fat pension in many cases.
Well..... hard to compare since private plans vary so much. I'm sure the fed med plan for both active and retired fed workers is better than the worse private plans and worse than the best private plans.

My curiosity remains that if we elect a president that wants to implement universal health coverage for both working and retired Americans, will that universal coverage be modeled after the existing fed plans? If not, will fed workers, like private workers, be forced to a universal plan dissimilar to their current plan?

BTW, no resentment (as implied by an earlier poster) on my part to public sector employees. Our extended family is thick with public sector job holders. Teachers, Post Office employees, City of Chicago employees, FBI, etc. In fact, I worked for the State of Illinois for a short time and also was extremely active in the Chicago patronage job scene working for our Democratic precinct captain to keep my dad and uncle employed at their city jobs! No anti-public sector prejudice here.

I'm just curious about the idea of universal health coverage and what it will look like. I think a plan similar to what fed gov employees have is a likely guess. That seems to be what's happened in Canada and Great Britain.
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:49 PM   #60
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Well..... hard to compare since private plans vary so much. I'm sure the fed med plan for both active and retired fed workers is better than the worse private plans and worse than the best private plans.

My curiosity remains that if we elect a president that wants to implement universal health coverage for both working and retired Americans, will that universal coverage be modeled after the existing fed plans? If not, will fed workers, like private workers, be forced to a universal plan dissimilar to their current plan?
That could be interesting. I know I have a good health plan with my employer, probably the equal of (or better than) most federal health care plans. Of course, the minute I sever employment, other than COBRA at over $700 a month for 18 months, it's over.

Most "universal health care" plans I've seen (except for the "Medicare for All" proposals advocated by Dennis Kucinich) don't force you into a particular plan, but simply mandate coverage (and subsidizing it for those who have lower incomes). Anyone with employer coverage, whether the employer is public or private, would not be affected while in said employment and while the employer is offering the benefit.
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