Obama To Cut Healthcare Benefits For Military,Trashing Tricare

Obama To Cut Healthcare Benefits For Military,Trashing Tricare



Obama to cut healthcare benefits for active duty and retired US military

BY: Bill Gertz

The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.

The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.

The proposed increases in health care payments by service members, which must be approved by Congress, are part of the Pentagon’s $487 billion cut in spending. It seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017.

Many in Congress are opposing the proposed changes, which would require the passage of new legislation before being put in place.

“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,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.”

Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

“When they talked to us, they did mention the option of healthcare exchanges under Obamacare. So it’s in their mind,” said a congressional aide involved in the issue.

Military personnel from several of the armed services voiced their opposition to a means-tested tier system for Tricare, prompting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey to issue a statement Feb. 21.

Dempsey said the military is making tough choices in cutting defense spending. In addition to the $487 billion over 10 years, the Pentagon is facing automatic cuts that could push the total reductions to $1 trillion.

“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.”

Under the new plan, the Pentagon would get the bulk of its savings by targeting under-65 and Medicare-eligible military retirees through a tiered increase in annual Tricare premiums that will be based on yearly retirement pay.

Significantly, the plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels.

According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.

The new plan hits active duty personnel by increasing co-payments for pharmaceuticals and eliminating incentives for using generic drugs.

The changes are worrying some in the Pentagon who fear it will severely impact efforts to recruit and maintain a high-quality all-volunteer military force. Such benefits have been a key tool for recruiting qualified people and keeping them in uniform.

“Would you stay with a car insurance company that raised your premiums by 345 percent in five years? Probably not,” said the congressional aide. “Would anybody accept their taxes being raised 345 percent in five years? Probably not.”

A second congressional aide said the administration’s approach to the cuts shows a double standard that hurts the military.

“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.”

The administration is asking troops to get by without the equipment and force levels needed for global missions. “And now they are going to them again and asking them to pay more for their health care when you’ve held the civilian workforce at DoD and across the federal government virtually harmless in all of these cuts. And it just doesn’t seem fair,” the second aide said.

Spokesmen for the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not respond to requests for comment on the Tricare increases.

The massive increases beginning next year appear timed to avoid upsetting military voters in a presidential election year, critics of the plan say.

Additionally, the critics said leaving civilian workers’ benefits unchanged while hitting the military reflect the administration’s effort to court labor unions, as government unions are the only segment of organized labor that has increased in recent years.

As part of the increased healthcare costs, the Pentagon also will impose an annual fee for a program called Tricare for Life, a new program that all military retirees automatically must join at age 65. Currently, to enroll in Tricare for Life, retirees pay the equivalent of a monthly Medicare premium.

Under the proposed Pentagon plan, retirees will be hit with an additional annual enrollment fee on top of the monthly premium.

Congressional aides said that despite unanimous support among the military chiefs for the current healthcare changes, some senior officials in the Pentagon are opposing the reforms, in particular the tiered system of healthcare.

“It doesn’t matter what the benefit is, whether it’s commissary, PX, or healthcare, or whatever … under the rationale that if you raise your hand and sign up to serve, you earn a base set of benefits, and it should have nothing to do with your rank when you served, and how much you’re making when you retire,” the first aide said.

Military service organizations are opposing the healthcare changes and say the Pentagon is “means-testing” benefits for service personnel as if they were a social program, and not something earned with 20 or more years of military service.

Retired Navy Capt. Kathryn M. Beasley, of the Military Officers Association of America, said the Military Coalition, 32 military service and veterans groups with an estimated 5 million members, is fighting the proposed healthcare increases, specifically the use of mean-testing for cost increases.

“We think it’s absolutely wrong,” Beasley told the Free Beacon. “This is a breach of faith” for both the active duty and retiree communities.

Congressional hearings are set for next month.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars on Feb. 23 called on all military personnel and the veterans’ community to block the healthcare increases.

“There is no military personnel issue more sacrosanct than pay and benefits,” said Richard L. DeNoyer, head of the 2 million-member VFW. “Any proposal that negatively impacts any quality of life program must be defeated, and that’s why the VFW is asking everyone to join the fight and send a united voice to Congress.”

Senior Air Force leaders are expected to be asked about the health care cost increases during a House Armed Services Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Congress must pass all the proposed changes into law, as last year’s defense authorization bill preemptively limited how much the Pentagon could increase some Tricare fees, while other fees already were limited in law.

Tricare for Life, Tricare Prime, and Tricare Standard increases must be approved, as well as some of the pharmacy fee increases, congressional aides said.

Current law limits Tricare fee increases to cost of living increases in retirement pay.




    • David Wilkerson Now you are talking like a true Obama man servant or perhaps you get weak in the knees when you see him or worse. You have no idea what you are talking about you are spouting lies about the dead.

    • David Wilkerson YOu have no idea what you're talking about, except Democratic talking points. just keep drinking the kool aid. How's your January paychecks looking ?

    • I agree Captain. 50 % at 20 years and 75% at 30 years. Today however they have a early retirement which works different, I am not really familiar with that system. I am sure however you agree that the health care system has changed.

    • Soldiers should lay down thier guns and say my azz your going to cut our benefits. Start a petition and go on strike other than to protect those right here on US soild from the bastard who rules this nation. he is pushing division amonest all. The shootins are to entice the jackboots wanting the guns gone it is all a hoax, then you have copy cats. People had better wake up for sure.

    • Ron Jackson – Actually, the system was changed in 1980 from Final Pay to High 36 (meaning an average of your last 36 months base pay. Then in 1986 (yes, under Reagan), Redux was included – setting the start percentage back to 40%.

    • you need to educate yourself….god you are so stupid….it was Jimmy Carter……the pay was so bad under Carter our military folks were living on food stamps…working civilian jobs just to pay their bills, it is pretty clear you know NOTHING about military life…..Regan gave us raises, and did so much more for us in the armed forces…..Carter is like Obama and hates who are willing to die for our freedoms…..what? were you one of those cowards that ran to Canada????

  2. Of course: cut medical benefits from miliary benefits from military people in order to GIVE them to the parasites living off the public dole and contributing absolutely nothing.

    • Pay and retirement/medical benefits are not addressed in the formal, written, military contract.

    • Yes it is. It is a verbal agreement, and a known fact. That is the biggest reason that most of us continue to serve, because we know we can work for the twenty years in UNIFORM, and recieve a decent retirement. If you think we are over paid, or undeserving of any of our benefits then you should try out our life style. It's not for everyone, only the very best physically, mentally, and morally are accepted into the military. We are not a bunch of second class citizens!

    • Elizabeth C. O'Connor just because it's not on that doc does not mean it doesn't exist. We had plenty of face time with the folks from benefits and Tricare. When they had reps come to our unit we would all go into a large briefing room and receive information on our pay, healthcare choices, retirement, money management and much more. It was required to be covered on a periodic basis just like anything else. At the 10 year mark I saw how bad the health care system was and decided, after they told me I could get AFFORDABLE TRICARE FOR LIFE for me and my spouse, to go for it and put in another 10 years. Knowing they were saving this benefit for my wife and I was all the motivation I needed to stick it out and retire honorably. Silly me, I actually believed them….I kept the faith and did my part. Too bad they are still giving free aid to countries that hate us…and Egypt gets a bunch of free F-16's..But i guess those monies and freebies are more important than honoring their part of the bargain

  3. I wouldn't go in under this President. If it is about saving money, stop foreign aid, reduce congresses pay, including the president and vice president. That would be a great place to start.

  4. They have screwed us over health care for retirees in the past and they are going to do it again. I think every member of Congress, President, Vice President, other senior government officials should not have health care provided by our government. As long as they get what they want screw the troops and military retirees.

    • Amen to that! Instead Obama gives them all raises and cuts the benefits of men who actually deserve them. This guy has to be impeached, not just for this, but for invading countries without congressional approval and trampling on our rights. From the NDAA, HR347, NDRP, and Gun bans. This list goes on. This guy is a criminal.

  5. This would absolutely fall under 'breach of contract' that was signed by every person that entered the military. Life long medical coverage has been offered to every service man and woman. My husband is retired Navy and served two tours of active duty in Vietnam. All his medical issues today are a directly related to combat injuries. These people serve, and have served and protected our freedom for generations. Asking them to be the ones to sacrifice is insane.

    • and military dependent wives now get kicked to the curb if they come down with cancer, obama is a idiot and liar, he isnt my commander in chief, he is a thief,

  6. I see everyone so far does not like this at all. But I ask you — WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT? If you are just reading the information and posted your comment then you are part of the blame. Post this to Facebook – Post this to other blogs – Post this anywhere and everywhere. When you do, tell people to contact members of the Senate and the House to shut this mad man down. I HAVE! WILL YOU?

  7. Lets make all our congressmen & senators live under the same laws the common folks have to. They are all filthy rich! Our Service men & women deserve these benefits WAY MORE than any elected official. We need TERM LIMITS too!!!

  8. So let me get this straight when you get to the details a retired Cornole with a family will go from paying $500 per year to $2000. I pay more than $400 per month & I'm not retired. What are you hacks complaining about? Some guy sits behind a desk for 20 years, retires taking home $90k per year & you get all teary eyed? Military spending is bloated. No free lunches. Take an economic course, watch something other than Fox & read something more challenging than the comics.

    • Let me say i dont think that the majority of the people in the military do not make 90K a year! while active or retired! Yes, the spending could be better managed. The Federal Govt is still building roads, parking lots, & boat ramps on a dry lakebeds that haven't seen water for over 20 years…( lake Meridith, by alibates) i think we could make the cuts elsewhere. Just sayin…

    • I as many others did served my country for very little pay, less than minimum wage with the promise of free health care which was at that time part of my pay, that of course changed when congress decided they no longer needed the Veterans and changed the contract after our part was fulfilled and we had no say so about it, now Obama not only wants to gut the medical care for both Honorably Discharged Veterans and Disabled Veterans as well as active duty military personnel who if they have a family are probably on food stamps and other assistance because the military still only pays a small percentage of what a working man could make outside the military. My advice to those in the military is to bring a class action suit against the Federal Government for changing the contract in mid stream and demand an honorable discharge from a less than honorable government.

    • Sean you stupid f!cking Irishman.

      Nothing in the Military Pay and Benefits was or is FREE.

      It was PAID for by the blood of my fellow Servicemembers.

      Walk down to a base, a ship or anything Military and ask them how FREE their lifestyles are or aren't.

    • Really Sean! Did you serve 20 year in the service? Sacrafice your life for others? Leave your family for months at a time and deploy to combat zones? Move every 2 years? NO! You sit behind a desk safe and sound while others fight and sacrafice for your freedom!! You wouldn't last one day in the military!!!

    • One more socialist who thinks that no one should be allowed to succeed in this country; they want everybody to be equally poor. Why reward a person's hard work and dedicated service when everyone else can benefit from it? Does that kind of thinking seem fair to anyone?

    • Sean O'Boyle.. You sound like a real jerk. Our military men and women are worth everything they get and more. Count yourself lucky because of them. They are the reason for your freedoms today. They not only make many sacrifices but also their families make them. Wives are without their husbands, children are without their fathers, mothers without their sons and daughter. All so that YOU and I can live the good life. I can tell you are not military and I can tell you are not to bright because you don't like our military, heck you don't even know how to spell Colonel so maybe you should try reading something besides the funnies!!! You should be ashamed of yourself!!! :(

    • My husband has been in the military for 15 years. He has been deployed 6 times. Our yearly incomes is no where close to 90k a year! You really need to check your numbers!

  9. I have a better Idea, why not put the President, Vice President and all of their cabinet members and congress on Obama care, cut their pay in half and their retirement to 35% of their salary at the time of retirement, if they are younger than retirement age with less than 15 years in congress they get no retirement plus they should loose the ability to give them selves raises, our military has to have more than 20 years before they are eligible for retirement and when they enter the military they have a binding contract which says they are given free medical care for life.

    • That, term limits, and they being required to follow the same laws as they impose on us would make for the greatest gifts I could ever receive. I would even be willing to let them draw their retirement right away if they serve honorably for 20 years.

    • i was told I have to give back my 20 yr pension if im to get soc sec disability, is this so obama now can spend to buy weapons for Egypts new F-16

  10. If this is approved by congress I think we should have a complete flushing of all congress regardless of how they voted, time for an honest man to run for congress.

    • We can only clean out Washington if every red blooded American, Black, White, Asian ,mex or Native American votes against the incumbent that is running for office. Why because congress is never going to put a bill before them to apply term limits. The only way to get them out of office is for everyone to vote them out, even if you like your representatives just vote them out. You can stay with your party preference but just get rid of those that are in office. That is when we get control of our government.

  11. This is why I hope when obummer decides to ask our military to attack the American people when we are finally fed up with his crap that they will stand up to him and say no, we will not take up arms against the citizenry, but that they will say mr. (I used that term loosely because I have no respect for him) obama we are going to remove you from office for just the mire.

  12. What is going to happen when no one will enlist in our military and they re start the draft and those who are drafted refuse to fight.

    • that is what he wants because then he can build his NEW military….something like the SS….he has to be stopped, my husband retired with 23 years service, my son in law, Navy, my son..Marine Corps, my grandson..Marine Corps…my brother in law..Marine Corps….not one of them are EX (I hate that word)…they all took an oath…and they will die living by that oath…even though they are not active duty…

  13. I don't believe military Chiefs gave unanimous support for any of this garbage. Tell the Congress and Senate that any and all changes made to the benefits promised to our military and Retirees will be equally given to them as well

  14. They always do this kind of stuff because they have never served. Look at our congress, our senate, our so called political leaders. Very few have served so they do not understand the sacrifice. Then they always use an officer's pay and not an enlisted. I'm a retired CWO4 and I know the difference that a retired enlisted makes compared to an officer. The numbers look better using officer's pay. They think retirees are living large. Collecting a big retirement check and get all of these so called benefits for free. Go back to the draft and see how things change. Everyone should serve a minimum of 2 years. Until they walk in our shoes they do not understand the sacrifice. They talk about it, but they truly do not understand.

  15. America, rise up and demand that this keyan by impeached. Call and write your Senators and Congress Person.

  16. I see a pattern here, make military the only option for the kool aid drinkers, fire generals who won't fire on American citizens, order Martial Law. We're going to have to dispose of a lot of kool aid drinkers.

  17. There has to be some other way than to take anything from anyone who has Honorably served in the US military. Make the necessary cuts to those who have the government jobs. The civilians who work for the DOD, Airforcce, Army, NAvy, or any other branch of government. Leave the people that have served in uniform alone. If anything at all, we need to be given even better benefits. I plan on staying in the Army until I can retire from it, and I did it just for the benefits. To take anything away from us would be disgraceful to what we have done. We earn every penny that we get in benefits. One suggestion would be to hold onto college benefits until a person has served two terms. To many GI’s take advantage of the GI Bill. The GI Bill should only be for a person who has served at least 6 active years. Also in regards to that, the student loan repayment program should be the same. Another thing could be to reduce the bonus system. There are some military jobs that give way to much bonus money. I have been in for over sixteen years, and I have gotten $5,000.00 for each enlistment. There are a lot of $20,000.00 bonuses handed out, and that is way to much to give a reservist who only reports 38 days per year. At 4 years, that is 152 days for $20,000.00. Plus they get there regular drill pay. That’s where you can save some big money. Leave my benefits alone. PLEASE!

  18. Coming from an active duty medical personnelist, this is absolutely ridiculous. How are we supposed to fight and defend our country and its people if we can’t pay to stay healthy? If anything, the raise of concern is the amount of appointments that active duty members no-show for. I still believe that active duty should be made to pay the fees of a no-show appointment instead of giving them a slap on the wrist. Take away our healthcare system? You’ve bitched-slapped us!

  19. All of us who served and are eligible for benefits should receive them No Questions Asked. One example, when I was in we could attend college at no cost – the service member Only. Now they are allowing spouses to receive tuition at no cost also. Sorry if this offends some, but if they cut this benefit to spouses who have not signed to serve their country this would save some money. I also agree we all need to get onboard and storm DC as a massive group if need be.

    • @Karen Mayfield, I don't know if you are a military spouse or not but let me inform you and clear up one point for you. Military spouses do serve not in uniform, receive no pay but they do serve. Who do you think took care of my children and household while I was TDY,Deployed, and in the field for FTX. IT WAS MY WIFE it was not someone else. Most military spouses realize that they come second to the military requirements of their spouse and accept it. Never say that they don't serve because they do. Retired E-7 Vietnam vet,3 tours. Again don't insult my wife by saying she did not serve because she did.

  20. The military's research and development arena can afford to delete this total amount from their budget and not even twitch over it. We have the strongest and mightiest armed forces in the world. Reduce R&D from the military and reduce foreign aid, then social security can be paid back what these yoyo's took from it. And if congress would cut $0.01 from every dollar it spends for 5 years, they could balance the budget. Let's stop taking benefits, no not benefits, entitlements from the armed forces, especially from those who have served honorably. This country owes its veterans for their service.

  21. I am retired Navy CPO. When I retired I was promised health care and retirement the rest of my life for the service we provide to our country. My health care as already been cut now the want to cut some more. There is something wrong with this. Yet does our nation give then takes it away. Maybe our retirement check is next?

  22. Obama is a piece of crap. As long as he is take care of that is all he is concerned with. He doesn't' care about us the Military! How does he expect us to pay for this insurance and live when he wants to raise it so high? Raise taxes and raise insurance put into effect his stupid insurance he is just sorry….

  23. This is ridiculous. All soldiers already risk their lives and get paid next to nothing to do so. To take away their health benefits so that others can get free/low cost healthcare who don't earn that right or deserve it is idiotic.

  24. One item on this post is false. "According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048." is not true. I am a retired E-6 with a family and my annual cost, according to my most recent retirement pay statement is $538.56 per year which I assume would be the same across the board regardless of pay grade. That also begs the question, my former wife takes in ~47% of my retirement pay, IF this plan is implemented, will my cost be based upon 100% of my retirement pay or the ~53% that I in fact receive? Will it be pretax or post tax income? So many variables to consider…

  25. I guess you did not see the proposal of Romney. His plan cut 3 to 4 time more than any real plan of the President!

  26. One of the nicest things about being in the military was the affordable health care. Taking this away from them is low.

  27. One of the nicest things about being in the military was the affordable health care. Taking this away from them is low.

  28. A nation that turns its back on its vets is a nation in serious moral decline. Welcome to Obama's Crumbling States of Amerika.

  29. Didn't our government just give Egypt a grant for 1 billion dollars? So, this means they don't have to pay the money back to US! WTH

  30. People who were ok with the last President invading a country for no reason resulting in thousands of troop deaths and hundreds of thousands of wounded soldiers are now losing their minds that the current President is attempting to cut defense spending in order to balance an incredibly broken budget. Oh internet, you never let me down.

    • Well much as it is up here, it's not necessarily the cuts I have a problem with so much as how and where those cuts are being applied.

      That said, I don't know where Obama intends to apply his budget cuts.

  31. […] really wants to help these people out Obama To Cut Healthcare Benefits For Military,Trashing Tricare | The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and […]

  32. were have you been living????? Come back from your fantasy land He sure is getting this country going somewhere… BROKE!!!!!!!! is what he is doing ……. WAKE up Man we need to get him out of office soon .

  33. This would absolutely fall under ‘breach of contract’ that was signed by every person that entered the military. Life long medical coverage has been offered to every service man and woman. My husband is retired Navy and served two tours of active duty in Vietnam. All his medical issues today are a directly related to combat injuries. These people serve, and have served and protected our freedom for generations. Asking them to be the ones to sacrifice is insane.

  34. If this is approved by congress I think we should have a complete flushing of all congress regardless of how they voted, time for an honest man to run for congress.