was simply instructing OPM to furnish some supplemental, targeted explanation for the decision to accept BC's proposal. Since OPM has now proffered a specific explanation of the actual factors motivating the decision at issue, it is irrelevant whether OPM can clarify a vague implication in the earlier Preliminary Analysis.
Overall, plaintiffs have not succeeded in demonstrating that the Burns affidavit fails to comply with the mandate of the Court of Appeals. The affidavit explains, in sufficient detail, the various considerations underlying OPM's decision to accept BC's proposal. Those considerations included all the policy goals which are discernible in the FEHBA, including those embodied in section 8904. OPM's ultimate decision reflected a rational balancing of conflicting statutory purposes that the court cannot label "clearly erroneous." Accordingly, the court concludes that OPM was not arbitrary or capricious in accepting the 1982 mental health benefits proposed by BC.
B. Rehabilitation Act and Equal Protection Claims
Defendants contend that they are entitled to summary judgment as to plaintiffs' Rehabilitation Act and equal protection claims and the court concurs.
There are several substantial flaws in plaintiffs' equal protection argument. First, the equal protection prescription incorporated in the Fifth Amendment only prohibits purposeful discrimination. Personnel Administrator of Mass. v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 279, 99 S. Ct. 2282, 60 L. Ed. 2d 870 (1979). The limitation on mental health benefits that is at issue is facially neutral; it does not create an inherently invidious classification of persons. See Schweiker v. Wilson, 450 U.S. 221, 101 S. Ct. 1074, 1080, 1081, 67 L. Ed. 2d 186 (1981); General Electric Co. v. Gilbert, 429 U.S. 125, 50 L. Ed. 2d 343, 97 S. Ct. 401 (1976) (the mere exclusion of pregnancy from a disability plan providing general coverage is "not a gender based discrimination at all"). Since plaintiffs have proffered no evidence suggesting that the reductions in question were undertaken with covert discriminatory intent, the equal protection challenge suffers from a fatal threshold deficiency.
Second, even if the benefit reductions are constitutionally reviewable they need only pass muster under the rational basis test. The limitations do not impinge on fundamental rights, Schweiker v. Wilson, supra, 450 U.S. at 230, 101 S. Ct. at 1080 (1981), nor do they implicate the interests of a "suspect class." Contrary to the criteria enumerated for such classes, federal employees receiving mental health benefits are not a "discrete and insular group," United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144, 152-53 n.4, 82 L. Ed. 1234, 58 S. Ct. 778 n.4 (1938), endowed with particular immutable characteristics. See Doe v. Colautti, 454 F. Supp. 621, 631-32, aff'd 592 F.2d 704, 710 (3rd Cir. 1979).
The defendant has certainly articulated a rational basis for the controversial cutbacks, particularly in view of the "strong presumption of constitutionality" accorded to legislative and administrative disbursements of monetary benefits. Mathews v. Decastro, 429 U.S. 181, 185, 97 S. Ct. 431, 50 L. Ed. 2d 389 (1976). The defendants have offered the completely neutral rationale of reducing health care costs to the government, Geduldig v. Aiello, 417 U.S. 484, 496, 41 L. Ed. 2d 256, 94 S. Ct. 2485 (1974) (minimizing costs is "an objective and wholly noninvidious basis for the state's decision not to create a more comprehensive insurance program than it has here"), as well as the importance of preserving the integrity of the entire federal health insurance program by minimizing the impact of the adverse selection phenomenon. See, e.g., Califano v. Boles, 443 U.S. 282, 296, 61 L. Ed. 2d 541, 99 S. Ct. 2767 (1979); Califano v. Jobst, 434 U.S. 47, 53, 54 L. Ed. 2d 228, 98 S. Ct. 95 (1977). Finally, the defendants have stressed that the benefit reductions in question will leave physically ill and mentally ill persons in rough parity with respect to projected per capita outlays. This suggests not only that a rational basis existed for the limitations on mental health benefits, but that a discriminatory classification is not even involved in the first instance.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provides, in pertinent part:
No otherwise handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by an Executive agency. . . .