“I thank Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings as well as other members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee including Representatives Mark Meadows, Gerry Connolly, Stephen Lynch, Dennis Ross, Steve Russell, Brenda Lawrence, Glenn Thompson and Tim Ryan for introducing, cosponsoring and, with an overwhelming vote, passing out of committee H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill is the product of reasonable and fiscally responsible compromise and represents a significant step toward returning the Postal Service to a position of financial stability that all stakeholders agree is necessary.
Enactment of H.R.756 along with a favorable resolution of the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) 10-year pricing system review and continued aggressive management actions to control costs and grow revenue will enable the Postal Service to meet its financial obligations and continue to provide affordable, reliable, and secure delivery service to every business and home in America. We look forward to continuing to work with the House and Senate and our stakeholders to get a postal reform bill passed this Congress.”
Megan J. Brennan
Below is the opinion of Rick Owens – Publisher of Postal Employee Network
H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 will most certainly provide a shot in the financial arm for the U. S. Postal Service while, at the same time, stripping away benefits promised to retired postal employees. Passage of this bill will FORCE postal retirees into Medicare coverage – the retiree will NOT be afforded the right to decline Medicare coverage.
Many of us postal retirees do not desire Medicare coverage at this time – we want the right to decline this coverage until the time we believe it beneficial to ourselves and families…not when USPS or the government thinks it will benefit us or the postal service. Many retirees have spouses that are unemployed, have no health insurance except for the F.E.H.B plan that the postal retiree pays for, and have not reached the age to signup for Medicare. Some retirees even have children that need the F.E.H.B. coverage that the postal employee carriers. So, these retirees will have to maintain their current F.E.H.B. health insurance, at a cost of over $500.00 every month, and then also pay for the FORCED Medicare coverage…about an additional $134.00 monthly. We are already on a fixed income…we DO NOT need the additional cost of Medicare coverage – not until WE know we can afford it.
The bill, so we’re told, will provide some help with premiums for a short period of time – here’s what we’re told; “The Postal Service will cover a decreasing portion of the Medicare Part B premium for current retirees transitioned into Medicare as a result of the legislation over a 4-year transition period: 75% in the first year; 50% in the second year; 25% in the third year; and 0% in the fourth year.” – I like that 0% in the fourth year. I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS PORTION OF H.R. 756 and neither does many fellow postal retirees and federal retirees.
This bill also force many, if not all, business customers to receive their postal delivery via cluster boxes…the least secure method of delivery known to man in my opinion. H.R. 756 also states “Requires the voluntary conversion to centralized or cluster box delivery of residential addresses identified by the Postal Service where 40% of the residents consent to conversion.” Repeat…NOT a majority of the residents, oh NO, only 40% of the residents. Granted, the summary of this bill that we have does state “Maintains door delivery of mail for residents who do not consent to voluntary conversion“ – but did you realize that a neighborhood association can speak for the entire neighborhood in issues regarding delivery? So if your HOA agrees to cluster box delivery then you will have cluster box delivery – unless you have a waiver due to physical hardship.
I most certainly want USPS to survive and thrive, but this bill has too many issues where people are FORCED to accept something they do not desire – a loss of benefits we were promised when hired and then when we retired. Repeal of P.A.E.A. – look it up – would have provided the financial shot-in-the-arm that USPS needs.
I hope this bill fails in its’ current form.
Publisher, Postal Employee Network