Archives for posts with tag: TRICARE

A symbol of freedom & federal government credibility

USMC Okinawa, 1980

 

Google:

60 billion in DOD contracting fraud

& see where savings are available to pay for healthcare fees earned by people who volunteered to go to far away places and maybe never come back again.

 

Politicians figured out that ending the draft & pretending to honor The Troops for a few moments at major sporting events would make it all good.

 

Traditional DOD military healthcare benefits used to entice people to stay for multiple tours in Iraq should be written in stone. 

 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta-

“But let me be clear that even after these increases, the cost borne by military retirees will remain below the levels in comparable private-sector plans.”

People who volunteer to go to far away places & maybe never come back again will pay less in fees for healthcare than people who stayed home.

Welcome Home Troops

 

Doublespeak-

“Panetta told reporters that defense officials “are going to protect the benefits that are provided to our troops and their families.”

But that doesn’t preclude changes to future benefits packages, or even cost-saving changes to current health care benefits and housing stipends.”

 

“Of the planned $450 billion in cuts over the next 10 years, more than half would come by having retirees pick up more out-of-pocket healthcare and drug costs, and by reducing or changing the military retirement system going forward.”

Thanks for the VIP photo-op featuring handpicked attendees- but how does that help the military family that hung in for multiple tours in Iraq & can now look forward to paying more for their healthcare benefits?

Here’s an idea to help military families-

Stop using tax money for ongoing National Guard deployments to distant lands– absent any military emergency, draft, or declaration of war.

More room for savings here:

Report: U.S. wasted $60 billion in contracting fraud, abuse

Another source here:

US Military Paid $1.1 Trillion to Contractors That Defrauded the Government

More savings available here:

Obama Proposes $2.4 Billion in Aid to Pakistan

More room for savings:

Afghan army to cost US $4 billion a year after 2014 withdrawal 

 

Madam First Lady, What is your position on raising healthcare fees for 20 year veterans?

Thanks for prodding a daytime TV audience to spend more time appreciating The Troops.

Perhaps less Americans are buying into the idea that overseas military operations are somehow connected to American rights and freedoms.

Perhaps some question a departure from the old tradition of a formal congressional declaration of war prior to sending the troops into combat.

Perhaps some see that Post 911 efforts to keep terrorists from visiting the homeland- still are unable to keep illegal drugs out.

Some may have come to the point where they just think of it as a Fake War on Terror.

 

 

“…$70 billion worth of cost overruns by the Pentagon were caused by management failures.”

This is the same DOD that says they are running out of money to pay for the healthcare benefits that were used to entice people to reenlist for ongoing, undeclared wars in distant lands.

 

“Sporting events have become the domain of worship of the military and its actions. It isn’t possible to watch a high school, college or professional sporting event without being subjected to flyovers from fighter jets, drill teams, or marching bands. Anyone who simply wants to watch their favorite football team on a Sunday afternoon cannot do so without the now required greetings from uniformed troops in Camp Liberty, or Camp Freedom, or Camp Patriot in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

 

My concerns are not specific to any political party or personality.

Here’s the Republican position Re: making good on healthcare benefits for The Troops:

“Pulling the TRICARE Prime idea from a recent Congressional Budget Office report, McCain said forcing retirees under 65 to use TRICARE Standard, the fee-for-service option, or health insurance from civilian employers, or space-available care at base clinics or hospitals, could save DoD medical accounts up to $111 billion over the next decade.”

 

Both major parties move in a pro-war/anti-liberty direction.

 

USMC Okinawa, 1980

 

Doublespeak-

“…pay levels overall are set too high as evidenced by the services’ continuous ability to meet recruiting and retention targets…”

Why are multiple National Guard deployments to distant lands- absent any military emergency, draft or declaration of war- required if the active force has all the bodies they need?

 

Cutting back on benefits used to entice people to reenlist during long wars…

How about letting people keep the plan that was in place when they signed up?

How about letting people keep the plan that was in place when they completed 20 years?

No definite benefit plan for people who volunteer to go to far away places and maybe never come back again-

 

Doublespeak-

“Panetta told reporters that defense officials “are going to protect the benefits that are provided to our troops and their families.”

But that doesn’t preclude changes to future benefits packages, or even cost-saving changes to current health care benefits and housing stipends.”

Of the planned $450 billion in cuts over the next 10 years, more than half would come by having retirees pick up more out-of-pocket healthcare and drug costs, and by reducing or changing the military retirement system going forward.

 

“…for retirees enrolled in TRICARE Prime, their costs would go up according to their pay increases that year.”

Pay increases?

 

The word is- The Dept. of Defense does not have enough cash for ongoing, undeclared wars and weapons– so they will make “The Troops” and former troops pay more for the benefits they earned when they volunteered to go to far away places and maybe never come back again.

Possible DOD cash savings here:

Stop using tax money for ongoing Washington National Guard deployments to distant lands- absent any military emergency, draft, or declaration of war.

Report: U.S. wasted $60 billion in contracting fraud, abuse

Plenty of DOD cash for more weapons.

 

The law raises the TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for military retirees and includes an indexed increase tied to the cost-of-living adjustment beginning in fiscal 2013.

June, 2011-

Defense Secretary Robert Gates

“…reassuring Marines at Camp Lejeune just weeks earlier that any change to retirement should not affect the current force. “So don’t get nervous,” he said.”

Raising healthcare fees won’t affect the current force?

“But any change to retirement would have to be grandfathered, Gates said, so no one in the service today is affected.”not true for healthcare.

“Gates’ remarks encourage that military compensation be part of planned defense cuts, suggesting excess dollars going today into compensation can be diverted over time to help replace aging fleets of aircraft, ships, submarines and land warfare vehicles.”

Or- take money from “The Troops” and hand it over to giant defense contractors.

 

 

Top level government officials begin their retirement while recommending cutbacks on benefits earned by “The Troops”after reminding us about a week ago of all the sacrifices veterans have made for our freedoms, etc.

No recommendation from these career federal employees to save money by keeping the National Guard and all the rest out of undeclared wars in the first place.

DOD has cash for new Drug War bases in Central & South America, the State Department is preparing to spend close to $3 billion to hire a security force to protect diplomats in Iraq after the U.S. pulls its last troops out of the country by year’s end- but it’s time to cut back on benefits earned by people who volunteered to go to far away places and maybe never come back again.

“During a June 2 session with reporters, Mullen said cuts should come from things like bloated staffs and unnecessary organizations — and military healthcare reform, once considered an untouchable program.

“We have to put initiatives in place over the mid-term that will then start to generate cash in the out years,” Mullen said.”

New Voice Joins the Call for Pay Cuts

“Recruitment and retention challenges could return if America does not do a better job now of producing more young men and women qualified for service.”

“Not a day goes by that we don’t ask how we can help our troops”

“…the department in its fiscal 2012 budget proposed raising TRICARE user fees on a gradual, sliding scale for working-age retirees.”

 

Obama proclaims Military Spouse Day

First Lady to Hollywood: Reflect Military Families

First Lady Pledges Support For Military Families

Having a staged lunch/photo op with military spouses on a giant stateside base will make it better.

Madam First Lady- what is your position on raising healthcare fees for 20 year veterans?

 

At graduation time-

If you have school-age sons and daughters- tell them to stay away from the US Armed Forces.

30 years ago- healthcare benefits were nowhere near the issue they are today & most Americans had little interest in doing time in uniform.

The country supports ongoing, undeclared wars in distant lands, but not a draft. National Guard troops face multiple deployments overseas- long after any emergency phase of operations. People who operated without the benefit of labor unions paid their dues to earn benefits & now the rules are changing.

Pentagon Wants Vets To Pay More For Health Care

Gates defends plan to raise some Tricare fees

VFW against TRICARE increase plans

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says military healthcare fees must rise

Secretary of Defense says Tricare fees paid by military retirees must go up.

…”What medical plan in the nation has not had a single increase in the premium or co-pays in the last dozen years?”

What other plan has been earned by people who volunteer to go to far away places and maybe never come back again?

Notice Secretary Gates does not demand that congress properly fund the “All Volunteer” military that continues to fight 2 wars overseas- his solution is to have the guys that already did their time pay out of pocket to save the government some money here.

Semper Fi Secretary Gates!

Thanks for supporting “The Troops”

Jim Webb took a stand back in the 80’s and resigned as Secretary of the Navy because he refused to agree to reduce the size of the Navy.

We don’t see much of that any more. High level government officials get paid the same wether they take a stand or not. Maybe they are nominated because it is likely they will just go along with whatever comes their way.

There is federal money to move around to provide for bailouts, clean up after white collar crime, remind everyone to line up to get a converter box to keep old TVs running, etc.

Maintaining a definite healthcare package for those who signed on to go to far away places and maybe never come back again may not be such a priority.

Military Healthcare Benefits-

Some would say “Free” healthcare.

Not free- (there is already an enrollment fee- in order to make appointments- plus co-pays and prescription fees)- but earned as part of a deferred compensation/incentive package offered to qualified individuals who were willing to serve or continue to serve in the US Armed Forces.

Offered partly because of the supply and demand problem that has existed for decades- most Americans have no interest in taking on the wear and tear that comes with serving in the Armed Forces, fewer still are interested in investing a spare 20 years in making a career of the military.

We hear many good things about the generation who fought WWII. People lied about their age to serve. There was a draft. Women went in, along with movie stars, entertainers and sports celebrities- the whole country understood and was involved in the war effort. School kids participated. Most people probably had a family member who served or at least knew people who did.

Today, most people do not serve and we are most comfortable with an “All Volunteer” military- until it comes time to pay on promised benefits.

“Support the Troops” is a common slogan and big political parties push and shove to stake out their own reputation for “Supporting the Troops”.

It’s all good for the average American as long as slapping a Communist Chinese Yellow Ribbon magnet on the car means the dues are paid up.

Our “Something for Nothing” culture does not pause to consider a minority of citizens who have gone the extra mile to take risks and- in return- earn benefits.

The military package never was meant to be comparable with civilian benefits.

Name another job that you can not quit that requires random, unannounced drug testing.

The demands of the job are not comparable- but- all freely accepted with the understanding that some will be sent to far away places and never come back again- and- that it all counts towards earning a definite benefit package- and not the easy way.

People made decisions and sacrifices in order to serve or continue to serve based on an understanding of the benefits they were fighting for.

Message to parents, young adults, recruiters, educators, veteran’s groups, church groups, flag lapel pin wearers, politicians, football teams with flag stickers on helmets, 911 marketers, and “support the troops” promoters- Teach your children- “bait and switch” tactics are in effect. Know this before considering serving in the Armed Forces.