News Briefs

November 27, 1996

News Briefs

The following news summaries are from OPM AM, the daily newsletter of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM AM is available on OPM Mainstreet, the agency's electronic bulletin board, at 202-606-4800.

THE FEDERAL DIARY--"Federal employees who think their subsidized health premiums are too high should compare notes with folks in the program who pay the full freight--and consider themselves lucky. Uncle Sam pays 72 cents of each premium dollar for most feds and retirees, but nothing for former spouses, adult children and ex-feds in the programs. The good news for those in the other' category is that they pay the same group premiums and can't be refused coverage. The bad news, however, is they pay the full premium" (The Washington Post).

A NEW KIND OF MEDICARE--"Now is the time for both parties to look at where America went wrong with Medicare (whose costs have gone from $6 billion in 1970 to $200 billion today) and how we can restructure it to put things right....An excellent study in August by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows clearly that restructuring is the only way to bring costs under control for the long term....Washington, despite a huge bureaucracy, can't control Medicare's costs. By contrast, in recent years the private sector has managed to hold down the growth of its own health care outlays. Restructuring solves both problems by setting up a system of competing health care plans, of which Medicare's current fee-for-service program would be just one....There's a model here: The Federal Employee Health Benefit Program, probably the best insurance system in America" (Tuesday, The Washington Post).

POSTAL SERVICE RECORD IN RECRUITING HISPANICS DISAPPOINTING'--"The Postal Service's efforts to recruit Hispanic workers in major cities have been disappointing,' hampered by a large number of Hispanics ineligible for federal employment, according to a draft of an internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Almost one-third of the Hispanic workers in the civilian labor force in Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago are ineligible for postal employment because of poor English language skills, immigrant status or failure to have registered with the Selective Service, according to Aguirre International of San Mateo, Calif....The consultants recommended that the Postal Service begin a targeted, coordinated public relations campaign' aimed at Hispanics, something that agency spokesman Roy Betts said it has begun by appointing 31 Hispanic recruiters around the country" (The Washington Post).

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