Congresswoman Johnson Introduces Bill to Protect Federal Employees’ Health Care Coverage During a Shutdown
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson yesterday introduced legislation to protect the health care benefits of federal employees during a government shutdown. The bill, H.R. 1719, also named the Securing Dental and Vision Protection for Federal Employees Act, contains specific provisions that, once enacted, would ensure that federal employees remain eligible to receive dental and vision coverage in the event of a lapse of government funding.
“Throughout the last government shutdown, we saw the hardship faced by thousands of federal employees across Texas and the nation,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “Amplifying the stress of missed paychecks, many of our fellow Americans faced the prospect of losing their dental and vision coverage. The Securing Dental and Vision Protection for Federal Employees Act brings an end to that fear.”
In order to cover federal employees, the government deducts predetermined amounts from paychecks to pay the premiums associated with dental and vision insurance. If two payments go unfulfilled, as is a potential consequence of a government shutdown, these insured individuals would either lose their coverage or be forced to pay out of pocket, even though they may be furloughed without pay. The newly introduced legislation would statutorily prohibit coverage from being stripped from these individuals should such a gap in appropriations occur.
“The government must fulfill its responsibility to its employees by defending their health care benefits, especially when they are deprived of a paycheck during a government shutdown,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “Under no circumstances should these civil servants be forced to bear the brunt of the government’s inability to keep itself open. This legislation takes an important step to protect all of their health care benefits, regardless of whether Washington is open or closed.”