(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/04/veteran.gif)The shameful treatment of Vietnam veterans is one of the ugliest chapters in our history and it is a chapter that the Obama Administration appears eager to revisit under the guiding inspiration of the Center for American Progress.
While spending under Obama has dramatically increased, the only part of the budget that the radical administration appears to be willing to cut is military spending. But cuts to military spending don’t just involve hardware, but also target human beings. The most shameful cuts involve dramatic increases to health care costs for veterans.
Tricare provides medical benefits to active duty personnel and their families, as well as veterans. With military salaries that are below average for Federal workers, those who serve and have served their country depend on it. After ten years of war and fifteen thousand wounded men and women, Tricare is a small payment on the debt that can never be repaid.
Unfortunately the Party of Treason, not satisfied with stabbing soldiers in the back while they were fighting, has refused to cease its campaign against them even after they have come home. The Center for American Progress, the leftist think-tank that has been described as the brains of the Democratic Party, has made Tricare into a target.
Time Magazine has described the Center for American Progress as “Obama’s Idea Factory” and it is clearly the source of the idea that responsible spending involves cutting health care benefits for veterans while pumping another 1.3 billion dollars into a Muslim Brotherhood run Egypt. The Tricare cuts are supposed to save 1.8 billion dollars, which we could just as easily save by eliminating aid to Egypt and Pakistan.
In 2011 the Center for American Progress issued a special paper deceptively titled, “Restoring Tricare” calling for higher premiums to “encourage responsible use” of Tricare benefits by veterans. CAP’s war on veterans was spearheaded by Lawrence Korb. Korb is a senior fellow at CAP and a senior adviser at the Center for Defense Information. Both are Soros linked organizations.
Korb has boasted that he has been pushing the kinds of drastic defense cuts since 2003 and indeed many of his proposals are part of the massive budget cuts. But while he had called for scrapping systems, he had not originally been an advocate of Tricare cuts. Instead in 2006, his defense review paper actually called for increasing Tricare costs by 1.8 billion by allowing reservists to join. This is identical to the savings from the current proposed Tricare premium hikes.
Only in the age of Obama did Korb shift from calling for Tricare increases in 2006 and 2007 to warning that rising Tricare costs were a serious problem and suggested that as a consequence of low fees, veterans “tend to use the program more heavily than civilians utilize typical HMOs.” The possibility that veterans had higher health costs because of their service was not mentioned.
But if Tricare was such a drain, then why hadn’t Korb proposed those same cuts earlier, why indeed had he called for bulking up Tricare costs only a year earlier? The shift came with Obama’s victory and it was only then that CAP began beating the drum for Tricare cuts and now it is close to getting its way.
As part of the ax, enrollees will see a 400 percent health care premium increase over the next five years leading to hundreds or thousands more in expenses for veterans who are already facing a bad economy. Veterans on a fixed income with medical problems will face the worst of it at the hands of a government that has made it clear that it doesn’t care what happens to them.
The assault on veterans includes not just those who have served in wars that the Democratic Party opposes, but also members of the Greatest Generation, Korean and Vietnam War veterans, who fought in wars overseen by Democratic Presidents, and who were promised that no matter what happened to them, their health care would be taken care of. Now that promise is being broken.
Older veterans will face an enrollment fee. Also included is a doubling of the co-pay on prescription drugs at pharmacies and a tripling of the co-pay for mail order medication. Standing in the way is Congressman Joe “You Lie” Wilson who serves as Chairman for the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, and has vowed to defy any such efforts.
But it’s not only Wilson who is standing up to the war on veterans. Senator Webb has crossed the aisle, joining Senator Ayotte and other Republicans, in opposing these measures. Mitt Romney responded to a question from the father of a wounded soldier by asking, “Why is it we go after military families. Why isn’t Obama going after government workers that are represented by the big government unions? “
The Center for American Progress’ paper advocating premium hikes noted that premiums for Federal employees had been adjusted to compensate for health care increases. What it does not note is that few bureaucrats come back with traumatic brain injuries, severed limbs or post-traumatic stress disorder. It also does not note the dramatic differences in salary.
An E1 private in the army earns less than 18,000 dollars while an entry level letter carrier at the post office earns more than twice as much. A Second Lieutenant takes in under 34,000 while a City Carrier Grade 1 Step D postal worker takes home 52,000 dollars. The greatest threat a mailman faces is angry dogs, while a soldier who navigates IEDs and bullets for a fraction of the income has his health care benefits cut when he comes home. It’s not as if he did anything important like deliver the mail.
The unspoken engine behind the war on Tricare is Obamacare. CAP’s war on Tricare began with a new administration which had made national health care into a major priority. In 2010, the Center for American Progress and Korb claimed that ObamaCare would in no way undermine Tricare. They lied. Administration officials have admitted that one reason for the increased fees is to push more veterans out of Tricare and into Obamacare.
But the increased premiums are just the beginning of a larger assault on Tricare by Obamacare. Just as veterans were first in the line of fire when the Center for American Progress and the left sabotaged the War on Terror, so too they are still in the line of fire on the homefront as CAP and the Obama Administration employ them as pawns in their national health care scheme and their continuing war on the military.
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