Postal Service Reform Act of 2021

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 8, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, let me thank Chairwoman Maloney. She has worked hard on this and has constantly been telling us for months and years how important this was and we had to get it done. So congratulations. The day has arrived.

The U.S. Postal Service, Madam Speaker, is one of the oldest and most essential American institutions. Unfortunately, it has struggled financially for many years. That is why this comprehensive, bipartisan legislation is important, because it will address the financial challenges facing the Postal Service.

A report last year by the GAO found that, since 2007, Postal Service expenses have grown faster than revenues, in part due to the cost of benefits, including retiree expenses.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has worked closely with the Oversight and Reform Committee to craft healthcare provisions in the Postal Service Reform Act that both protect the benefits of retirees and put the Postal Service on a better financial footing.

Under the bill, current Postal Service retirees will be able to keep their retirement health plans provided by the Postal Service and will not be required to enroll in Medicare. However, the legislation creates a one-time special enrollment period for Postal Service retirees who are eligible for Medicare to enroll in Medicare part B if they so choose.

Postal Service retirees who enroll in Medicare part B through this special enrollment period would not pay late enrollment penalties on their part B premium. Instead, the Postal Service would pay any late enrollment penalties on behalf of the individual.

Arrangements like this exist today for certain State and local government employees. The new special enrollment period will make it easier and more affordable for current Postal Service retirees to enroll in Medicare's comprehensive health coverage, and the majority of Postal Service retirees already choose to take advantage of their Medicare benefits.

H.R. 3076 would also require future Postal Service retirees to enroll in Medicare when they become eligible in order to qualify for the Postal Service's retiree health plan. This would mean that future Postal Service retirees who are eligible for Medicare would have Medicare as their primary insurer but also have their Postal Service health plan filling any gaps in Medicare coverage. This is a common way to provide retiree insurance in the private sector.

Overall, I believe this bill will improve the financial health of the Postal Service, and it will allow the Postal Service to continue providing critical services to the Nation and health benefits to its employees and retirees.

Madam Speaker, I want to thank everyone, particularly Chairwoman Maloney, for their involvement in this effort, and I urge support for the bill.