The U.S. Department of Personnel Management sent out a late day Press Release concerning the story that was printed this morning regarding the fact that Aetna was offering Federal Employees Pet Insurance. stories that were reported this morning. (Obviously someone is reading the LGBT Blogs)
“Stories claiming that the federal government offers pet insurance to federal employees, and juxtaposing that benefit with the fact that the federal government cannot under current law provide health insurance benefits to federal employees’ domestic partners are grossly inaccurate. While Aetna is a participating carrier in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the pet insurance product offered by Aetna is not a federal benefit, nor has it been listed as a benefit in any OPM prepared or reviewed materials. Aetna, on its own initiative, offers a variety of discount products to its members, including gym memberships, weight loss programs, eyewear, vitamins, etc. Pet insurance is one of these products.
“Aetna has apologized for using the reference to FEHBP in its communication on this discount program. OPM regrets that Aetna’s error is being cited by some as evidence that same-sex domestic partner health insurance benefits for federal employees are not a priority by OPM and the Administration. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“The Obama Administration believes in granting equal rights and benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as demonstrated by the President’s strong support of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which will provide full benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. The Director of OPM has testified in both the Senate and the House in favor of its passage.”
OPM doesn’t seem to mention WHY Federal Employee’s received email stating that FEHPB Members with AETNA could get a discount on Pet Insurance through official business Federal email accounts if AETNA took it upon itself to do this. But hey, they are just trying to cover some asses here
As for “the President’s strong support of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act” I suppose his “strong support” is why it, like ENDA is sitting stagnant in Congress.
Federal employees who are insured through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program received an email from Aetna advertising their new pet insurance plans. “In these challenging economic times, it’s good to know you can get some financial protection for unexpected illness and injury to your pets,” the e-mail reads before listing the many benefits. But they STILL can’t insure their same sex partners.
So “in these challenging economic times,” LGBT workers and protect fido and boo-boo kitty but are still prohibited from purchasing policies for their partners or spouses by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
Okay now just how fucking insulting is this?
There are currently two separate bills in the House and Senate to provide full federal benefits to same sex domestic partners of federal employee. Last year, the legislation was voted out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on a bipartisan basis but Sen. Joe Lieberman) — the bill’s chief sponsor — has promised not to move this on the floor of the Senate “until we get the explicit offsets” from OPM. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation would cost approximately $310 million through 2020 and benefit some 30,000 employees with same-sex partners. And with the cost that high both bills are now in permanent “stall status” and probably as good as dead because we all know money trumps equal rights.
The Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligation Act was considered low lying fruit in January 2009 just like ENDA, and DADT.
Another LGBT MASSIVE FAIL by this Administration.
The Office of Personnel Management announced late last week that gay and lesbian federal workers with a same-sex partner can now take leave without pay to attend to their family’s educational and medical needs!
The The Office of Personnel Management is crowing about the fact that it’s instructing federal agencies to extend 24 hours of leave without pay each year to gay federal workers, essentially allowing them to attend school functions and medical and dental appointments or to provide care to an elderly partner, Well here’s some news for the OPM and everyone else. Leave Without Pay is granted to any employee Gay or Straight at anytime with a Supervisors or Managers permission. I know. I seasonally work as a Federal Worker.
All this This HYPE of course is to make it look like Obama’s LAME extended fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers, was actually SOMETHING BIG and to cover the fact that have nothing to do with the MAJOR benefits like same-sex partner Health Insurance coverage, Life Insurance, Retirement and pension access, etc. These “extended benfits” are just garbage, pure and simple and an insult at best. What was given to us are the the least important of all Federal benefits and ones that hat very few lesbians and gays men would ever need, use or want.
Of course Obama cannot extend full benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees unless Congress passes The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act and of course efforts to do so have stalled this year in the House and Senate ever since the CBO estimated that benefits for same-sex partners would cost $310 million over the next 5 years.