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H.R. 2157 - CBO Analysis of Costs of Bill

H.R. 2157 - CBO Analysis of Costs of Bill

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Published by Gay Vantage
CBO report on costs of H.R. 2157, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act
CBO report on costs of H.R. 2157, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act

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Published by: Gay Vantage on Dec 26, 2009
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07/30/2010

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CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICECOST ESTIMATE
 
December 17, 2009
H.R. 2517
Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009
 As ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform on November 18, 2009
SUMMARY
H.R. 2517 would make same-sex domestic partners of certain federal employees (bothcurrent and retired) eligible to receive the same employment benefits as married spousesof federal employees. Those benefits include health insurance, survivor annuities,compensation for work-related injuries and travel and relocation benefits that affect thefederal budget, as well as other benefits that do not have an impact on the budget, such aslife insurance and vision and dental benefits.CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2517 would increase direct spending by $596 millionthrough 2019, and that enacting the bill would not have any direct impact on federalrevenues. Over the same period, CBO estimates that discretionary spending would alsoincrease, by $302 million, assuming appropriation of the necessary funds. Providingadditional health insurance benefits through the Federal Employee Health Benefits(FEHB) program causes the largest increase in both mandatory and discretionaryspending—$590 million and $266 million, respectively.Some of the costs of H.R. 2517 would derive from providing health benefits to thedomestic partners of active workers and retirees of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS); cashflows of the USPS are classified as “off-budget.” CBO’s estimate of direct spendingincludes such off-budget costs totaling $242 million between 2010 and 2019.H.R. 2517 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in theUnfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs on state, local, ortribal governments.
 
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ESTIMATED COST TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The estimated budgetary impact of H.R. 2517 is shown in the following table. The directspending and discretionary impacts of the bill fall within budget functions 550 (health)and 600 (income security).
By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars20102011201220132014201520162017 2018 20192010-20142010-2019 
CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING
 
(OUTLAYS)
 Federal Employees Health Benefits(FEHB) ProgramOn-Budget (non-postal) 01827313438424752 58110348Off-Budget (postal) 01420222427293235 3880242 Federal Employment CompensationAct (FECA) Benefits 133344444 41535 Survivor Annuities -3-11-9-7-5-3-113 6-35-27 Total Changes in Direct Spending -32441495866758595 106169596On-Budget -31021273440465360 6789354Off-Budget 01420222427293235 3880242 
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
FEHB Program Costs forActive EmployeesEstimated Authorization Level 01724262830323436 3995266Estimated Outlays 01724262830323436 3995266 FECA Agency CostsEstimated Authorization Level *23344444 41232Estimated Outlays *12334444 41030 Travel and Relocation BenefitsEstimated Authorization Level *11111111 136Estimated Outlays *11111111 136 Total Changes in SpendingSubject to AppropriationEstimated Authorization Level *2028303234363941 44110304Estimated Outlays *2629323437394144 47108302 
Sources: Congressional Budget OfficeNotes: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
*
= costs of less than $500,000.
 
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BASIS OF ESTIMATE
 For this estimate, CBO assumes that that H.R. 2517 will be enacted in the second half of 2010 and that the necessary amounts will be appropriated for each year. CBO assumesthat about 0.33 percent of federal employees would choose to register a same-sexdomestic partnership if given the opportunity. That figure is based on informationpreviously gathered from state and local governments as well as recent research onorganizations that have adopted similar policies. CBO estimates that approximately80 percent of individuals eligible under the proposal would move from single to familyhealth coverage and that 85 percent would elect a survivor benefit for a domestic partner.H.R. 2517 applies to eligible current federal employees, as well as current and futureretirees, other than members of the armed services.
Direct Spending
 
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
H.R. 2517 would extend eligibility forhealth benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of current and future federal retirees.Unlike premiums for current workers, the government’s share of health care premiumsfor retirees is classified as direct spending. For each year over the 2011-2019 period,CBO projects that approximately 5,200 additional family coverage policies would beadded to the FEHB program by current and future non-Postal Service retirees choosing tocover same-sex domestic partners. As a result, direct spending would increase by$348 million from 2011 to 2019.Postal Service employees also would be eligible for same-sex domestic partner coverageunder H.R. 2517. CBO estimates that providing health benefits to the domestic partnersof active postal workers would result in about 2,000 Postal Service employees movingfrom individual to family coverage plans. Additionally, CBO anticipates thatapproximately 1,100 current and future retirees from the Postal Service would move tofamily coverage for their same-sex domestic partners.The cash flows of the Postal Service are classified as off-budget, although the totalfederal budget records the agency’s net spending (gross outlays less offsettingcollections). CBO estimates that extending FEHB benefits to the same-sex domesticpartners of Postal Service workers would increase off-budget costs by $242 millionthrough 2019.
Federal Employment Compensation Act (FECA) Benefits
. FECA providescompensation to federal civilian employees for disability due to personal injury sustainedwhile in the performance of duty. Married workers currently receive slightly higherFECA benefits for wage replacement than do single workers. Additionally, if an

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