Making Military Families Pay

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The specter of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, now hangs over America’s fighting forces. Included in President Obama’s proposed cuts in defense spending is a call for military families and retirees to pay more for their health insurance, even as unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits remain off limits to those same increases. According to U.S. officials, the proposal is reportedly creating a “major rift” within the Pentagon. Why the change? Several congressional aides contend the move is designed to move more soldiers into the state-run health exchanges created by the healthcare bill.

“We shouldn’t ask our military to pay our bills when we aren’t willing to impose a similar hardship on the rest of the population,” said Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, to the Washington Free Beacon. “We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.”

Apparently we can. Administration officials acknowledge that the switch from the current Tricare coverage to the state-run exchanges is part of an effort to trim $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017. Yet these sums are paltry when compared to the overall effort by this administration to hammer military spending, which is now slated to be reduced by $487 billion over the next ten years without the cuts engendered by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to reach a deal “triggered” $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts that may raise that total to more than $1 trillion.

The new plan calls for a “tiered increase” in annual benefit payments based on one’s yearly retirement pay. The Pentagon expects most of the savings to be accrued by targeting under-65 and Medicare-eligible military retirees. The initial increase in payments ranges from 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent will be imposed, more than tripling the current payment schedules. The Pentagon also will impose an annual fee for a military retiree program called Tricare for Life, which all military retirees must automatically join at age 65. Current enrollees pay the equivalent of a monthly Medicare premium. A new fee will be added on top of that premium.

There are three different tier schedules proposed for Tricare. Tier 1 retirees, with retired pay below $22,590, would see a 71 percent increase in enrollment fees over the next five years, from $520 to $893. Tier 2 retirees, drawing $22,590 to $45,178, would see their fees raised to $1,523 by 2017, nearly triple the current rate. Tier 3, retirees with annuities above $45,178, would pay $2048 by 2017, nearly four times the current fee. Individual coverage in Tiers 2 and 3 also would cost half of family coverage.

As for active duty personnel, they will be faced with increased co-payments for pharmaceuticals. Co-pays for 30 days of brand-name drugs in the retail network would rise from $12 to $34 in fiscal 2017, while co-pays for brand name at mail order, now $9 for a 90-day supply, would also reach $34 by 2017, thus eliminating any incentive to use generics instead of brand name pharmaceuticals. In addition, “third tier” drugs, as in those deemed too expensive to be on the military formulary, would no longer be available at retail outlets unless physicians deemed they were medically necessary.

The cuts reportedly have the unanimous support among “military chiefs,” with Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, calling the current fee system, little changed since 1996, “an anachronism” the military no longer can afford. He characterized the fee increases as part of the “tough choices” that must be made to reduce military spending. “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,” Dempsey said. “You have our commitment that we will continue to review our health care system to make it as responsive, as affordable, and as equitable as possible.”

An unnamed congressional aide was far less sanguine. “Would you stay with a car insurance company that raised your premiums by 345 percent in five years? Probably not,” the aide contended. “Would anybody accept their taxes being raised 345 percent in five years? Probably not.” Another aide put the cuts in perspective as well. “We all recognize that we are in a time of austerity,” this aide said. “But defense has made up to this point 50 percent of deficit reduction cuts that we agreed to, but is only 20 percent of the budget.”

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  • Ken

    This is an egregious attack on active and retired military members! Having served over 20 years before retiring, I see this as the typical Leftist anti-military tactic. Punish those who protect or protected their right to act like spoiled, petulant children! All men and woman who are serving or have served have to be appalled at this!! Just another reason Obama MUST NOT be elected to a second term!!

    • maturin20

      I've never seen someone complain so much about a socialist system transitioning to a corporatist system, especially when his insurance premiums will remain lower than that of average citizens. Is this Saul Alinsky's fault, George Soros', fault, Muhammad's fault or my fault? I know my insurance company doesn't let me pay $9 for a three month supply of medicine. More like $12 dollars for 4 days. Is this because I don't read the Constitution enough?

      • al222

        could be because you haven't put your ass on the line for the country. just guessin'

        • Diane L. Crosby

          As it is the lower ranks don't make enough to live on – it's criminal to think that the very people who put their lives on the line for their country have to actually rely on food stamps. But WAIT – according to Piglosi and that racist Jessee Jackson that stimulates the economy…………….
          Good God – what bloody fools they are – seriously unbelievable!!!!

        • maturin20

          Me enlisting in the military is going to fix healthcare costs?

      • Dave

        Maybe it's due to the yellow streak up your back and desire to let others do the dirty work for you? Thought so!

        Not socialism as these benefits were promised and worked and paid for. Something you wouldn't know about. You socialists give things away to those who have done nothing to earn them but being alive. That also sounds like you too.

        • maturin20

          Sure it's socialism. It's socialism like in Sparta. Except with a lot more whining and a lot less bravery.

  • Diane L. Crosby

    So much for "Hussein" the Kenyan Muslim – what a bastard he is………….There had to be many active and retired military personnel who voted for this ignoramus in 2008 – let's hope you've come to your senses this time around. Four more years of this fool and our beautiful country will never recover. How dare he do this to our military who sacrifice so much for us.
    Every day brings a new attack – he absolutely MUST BE STOPPED NOW!!!!!!

  • Diane L. Crosby

    So much for "Hussein" the Kenyan Muslim – what a bastard he is………….There had to be many active and retired military personnel who voted for this ignoramus in 2008 – let's hope you've come to your senses this time around. Four more years of this fool and our beautiful country will never recover. How dare he do this to our military who sacrifice so much for us.

  • Sage on the Stage

    And prosecute and jail him if he loses; impeach and prosecute him if he wins. And take away his Presidential pension.

  • kafir4life

    Between now and November, Stinky will make the case why active Military should not be allowed to vote. The case will be made that "nobody should get to decide who their boss is, it's not done in the private sector, why should we allow it?" He knows that his worst election performance is among the Military, so like the White Middle-Class vote, he's not expecting it, and plans to "punish" those groups as his enemies (his words, not mine).

  • Diane L. Crosby

    How can the active and retired military band together across the country to prevent the latest Muslim takeover from Hussein. How dare he penalize our military benefits – my disgust knows no bounds – but what can you expect when the Commander in Chief (supposedly) mispronounces CORPSMAN……………..
    He is ridiculed the world over – what an embarrassment to America.
    Any ideas out there to STOP this latest injustice????????

  • Rybbe

    Don't read the details. Don't look at the facts. Just believe! Believe Kathleen Sebelius when she says that the Affordable Health Care Act is just misunderstood. Just believe her when she says we should just ignore the facts.
    Just believe Teflon Obam when he says that we can keep our doctors and our plans, while we pay less for our health care (after we pay more from all of the increases that our insurance companies passed along to us last year)

  • mrbean

    A clandestine Muslim like Hussein Obama as president and commander-in-chief of the US military is an abomination. He has set the stage for Iran to take over Iraq and screwed up the war in Afghanistan with his A$$ kissing Qu'ran apology farce. Between him and the closet communist sexless hag he has a Secretary of State the have manage to totally screw up the foreign policy of the US by aligning themselve with our enemies and abandoning our friends, and put the US economy in the tank and piled up almost 16 trillion dollars in debt by January, 2013, They have also screwed up the miltary with their priority recruitment of homosexuals, putting women into combat units, and cutting the military budget. Need to cut the number of Federal employees starting with blacks who are both over-represented bby 600% and most are totally unqualified to hold the positions they have.

    • Jim_C

      Yes, we are now abandoning our allies, consorting with our enemies, and screwing up the military just for the hell of it! "Only women and homosexuals need apply." LOL!!!

      Hey mrbean–you realize this website helped set the stage for Iran taking over Iraq when they supported a vague plan to go in and democratize them. Go read the archives if you want a good ironic laugh–and deal with it!

      As for Afghanistan being screwed up? it's called "history." You don't make a pro forma apology? more US soldiers (who should be home yesterday) get shot at. Is that what you want?

  • yeomalt


    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.

    • Rifleman

      That money's gone, like the 'stimulus' I'd rather take it for the $200 billion a year we're paying so people can sit on their cans for two years at a stretch.

  • Ann

    I AGREE OBAMA has got to be stopped by not reelecting him and pelosi, reid and the other humanist friends of his. I feel as if I have not had a president in 3 years, but a dictator. We need to let everyone we know what Obama is doing to the military and the country as a whole. Just keep telling them until they finally believe you. Most of all, pray to the good Lord for freedom from this administration.

    • Jim_C

      Oh, life has been just oh so oppressive under Obama! LOL!

      • Rifleman

        Maybe it's just luck, but I never had someone who didn't know the difference between a drill and a mill come into my shop (where I've been safely plying my trade for almost 20 years), and tell me how to do my job, before hussein. It's certainly not luck that no government official ever told me I had to buy something, and then exempted their friends, before hussein. That seems pretty oppressive, for America, and they'll be the first to tell you they're just getting started.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        I get it now, Jim_C ala Jim Crow, you use reverse psychology to make people dislike Obama
        all the more…………not amazing, kind of funny, stick around you are a bunch of laughs………William

  • dos

    This is the scheme that DhimmiCrap is working on to deceive people that they are cutting the budget, But it actually shifts that expense into another unknown behemoth, aka obamacare, with the high risk of government monopoly on healthcare and dictating patients' lives, while simultaneously give it an excuse to increase government size unlimitely.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Cut military spending for the next ten years, under Obama we will not have ten more years but
    come November what will the new President and Congress be doing……….hopefully they will cut
    out every lousy thing the criminal obama administration has done…………………….William

  • truebearing

    Obama is insulting and impoverishing the current members of the military so they get fed up and quit. He will then replace them with gays, Muslims, blacks, and women…. in other words, his constituency. Then he won't have to worry about a military that is more loyal to the constitution than to him. Obama is going to purge the one power in America he fears the most: our military. Once it is sufficiently loyal, he will lavish pay, insurance, etc on "his" military.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Now our military when they are overseas fighting for is not only have to worry about being killed, maimed, or crippled they now have to worry about their families havin enough money for health care. I put 22 years on active duty. When I entered the military I was promised free medical qnd dental care for 20 years service. In fact this no cost care was identified as a reaso to stay on active duty while I was serving. Now with the advent of Obama I can say they my country lied to me, betrayed ms, and now my country will punish me for honorable service.

  • oldtimer

    Disgraceful…Make the politicians pay for their insurances.

  • חדרי ילדים

    שלום רציתי להמליץ לכם על אתר של ספות נוער, מזרן, ארונות הזזה ומיטה זוגיתוהכל במגוון רחב ועיצוב מהודר.