Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Military Health Care Faces Draconian Recommendations

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has urged the Super Committee, which has been tasked to make $1.2 trillion in cuts from the federal budget, to consider recommendations by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that would not only bar retirees under 65 from using TRICARE Prime, but would add Draconian fees to the existing military health care system. 

The CBO proposal would  impose a huge new enrollment fee for TRICARE Standard, require annual enrollment, bar TRICARE from acting as second payer to other insurance, and raise the retiree catastrophic cap from $3,000 to $7,500 a year.  Normally, CBO recommendations do not generate legislation, but in the current environment, as suggested costs savings are being considered in the current environment, Sen. McCain’s recommendation to the Super Committee could end up getting the CBO proposal serious consideration.

Such changes would be in addition to the President's recommendation to add a $200 a year enrollment fee to TRICARE for Life.  Recommended increase in prescription co-payments will cost military families and retirees more, and will reduce the effectiveness of preventative medicine, likely raising the Department of Defense's actual medical expenses.

The Reserve Officers Association feels it is inappropriate to "tax" the 1.6 percent of the population that has been willing to defend the rest of the U.S.  population from external threats.  Current and former uniformed service members earned their benefits not only through their service, but also through the stress and sacrifice that is without comparison faced by the common citizenry.  Please contact your elected officials and the White House by going to ROA's Website and sending letters to our elected officials at www.roa.org/write_2_congress.

4 comments:

COL Alfred M Diaz, USA (ret) said...

The idea that military retirees and dependents should be taxed to offset the costs of the American Jobs Act is insulting and absurd. An annual "enrollment fee" for TRICARE for Life is also absurd because the beneficiaries are already enrolled through the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS)and payment of Medicare Part B premiums.

The proposals also fail to recognize:

(1) That most military personnel are FORCED to retire after 20 years of active service.

(2) Military personnel who are forced to retire face a significant reduction in income at a time when their children are of college age.

(3) A significant percentage of military retirees encounter obstacles to finding civilian jobs, particularly jobs with employer-provided health benefits.

(4) Increases in pharmacy co-pays will affect not only retirees and their dependents, but also active duty military dependents who do not reside near military treatment facilities.

RAMPAGE 06 said...

I retire from the Army in September 2010 after serving 32 years. I am a "Die-Hard" Republican. The recommendation by Senator McCain are truly disheartening and cause me much frustration. Why shouldn't veterans who serve (for substantially more time than Congress) and retire receive the same health care coverage that members of Congress receive? You don’t see Senator McCain recommending a downgrade in health care benefits for Congress!!! Of course not...that personalizes the action. I certainly agree that this country needs to cut to get its fiscal house in order. I just think there are other areas that waste much more (and I don’t think that moderate health care benefits for veterans is in the same category) can be reduced. I will now begin my letter writing campaign and will begin with Senator McCain...

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