A Senate panel recently killed a healthcare bill endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon called for the increase in fees to military families and retirees through their healthcare. Senior Republicans called the increase “an attack on our military” by the Obama administration (Marine Corps Times).
Tricare is the health care program serving our active-duty troops, National Guard, Reserve, retirees, their families, survivors, and certain former spouses around the world.
The Tricare program is a component of the Military Health System. The bulk of savings would’ve increased annual premiums for Medicare eligible military retirees and those under 65; this was based upon their yearly retirement pay. Defense Secretary Panetta defended the fees before the Senate House Committee and stated the following.
On Tricare costs for healthcare, we’ve recommended increased fees. This hasn’t been easy. This is a tough and challenging responsibility (Wake Up America).
The Pentagon says the annual increase would’ve saved $12.9 billion by 2017. Last year’s Defense Authorization Bill states any Tricare increases must get congressional approval. It’s said Republicans, in Congress, and military organizations for officers and enlisted troops opposed the fees. They said the fees violate promises made to our troops for their service.
How can our government continue making promises only to renege? We should take care of our service members after they have served our nation. They’re the ones who put their lives in danger for the freedoms of others. Our troops deserve to be honored and respected, most especially by our leaders.
In defense of the increases, the Joint Chiefs of Staff say the rises in premiums are necessary to avoid cuts in other parts of the military. (Here’s a revolutionary idea, cut back on those expensive hammers.) General Martin Dempsey stated the following concerning the increases.
I want those of you who serve and who have served to know that we’ve heard your concerns, in particular, your concern about the tiered enrollment fee structure for Tricare in retirement. You have our commitment that we will continue to review our health care system to make it as affordable and equitable as possible.
It’s reported administration officials say the reasons for the cuts was to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare. Meaning it will become so expensive retirees will be forced to opt out. Thus they will have no choice but to enroll in “Obamacare.”
Congressman Ron Paul had this to say,
I am appalled at President Obama’s disregard for the health and well-being of America’s military families, and his continued fealty to union boss special interests. The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget would require military families and retirees to pay exceedingly more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. This is unacceptable.
The following statistics are submitted for your review. Then you’ll see there are other places where money can be saved to keep from digging into service member’s pockets.
- A report of lost and unaccounted funds in Iraq – $9 billion of US taxpayers’ money and $549.7 million in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors (ABC News).
- A lost or reported stolen amount of $6.6 billion in U.S. taxpayers’ money earmarked for Iraq’s reconstruction, reported on June 14, 2011 by Special inspector general for Iraq’s reconstruction Stuart Bowen who called it “the largest theft of funds in national history” (CBS News). Last known holder of the $6.6 billion lost: the U.S. government.
- Funds mismanaged and wasted in Iraq – $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings.
- Halliburton overcharges classified by the Pentagon as unreasonable and unsupported – $1.4 billion.
These are just some of the places taxpayer money has been wasted, stolen and mismanaged by our government. The same government that wants to take away from our military. Dr. Ron Paul has the right idea when he stated the following.
There are trillions of dollars in unwise and unconstitutional spending we must cut. Failing to meet the promises, we have made to our troops would be unjust and immoral.
This is the reason why it’s reported that so many of our troops support Dr. Paul.