Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has reintroduced legislation this week that would repeal Obamacare and open the Federal Employee Health Benefits program up to all Americans.
H.R. 138 is being reintroduced after its predecessors failed to move forward in past Congresses. The legislation would repeal Obamacare and replace it with open access to the FEHBP. The Office of Personnel Management would be tasked with running the new insurance program.
The legislation dictates that OPM would enter into a contract with one or more carriers to make health benefits plans available to eligible individuals. Individuals would be considered eligible unless they were enrolled or eligible to enroll for coverage under a public health insurance program (including Medicaid or Medicare), were enrolled under the federal employee health insurance program, or if they were members of the uniformed services.
The legislation also dictates that no government contribution shall be made for any individual enrolled in such a plan. It further directs OPM to ensure that covered individuals are in a risk pool separate from that maintained for federal employees.
Past versions of this bill were introduced by Issa in 2011 and 2013. The last iteration of this bill ultimately failed to advance.
Issa said at that time that the impetus for the legislation was to expand health care choices and provide more affordable options. According to Issa, “This is a free market approach to healthcare with government playing the very limited role of helping small businesses and individuals come together to get a better price for healthcare – much like larger businesses can already negotiate on their own.”