Your “free health care” will get more expensive

| May 12, 2011

Well, those douche bags in Congress fell for the Obama Administration’s plan to raise TriCare fees on retired veterans who were promised free health care for life when they enlisted and reenlisted. By the way, they called it “sensible rate hikes” so because you expect the military to keep the promises they made, you’re senseless;

The committee voted early Thursday to allow the first bump in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees in more than 15 years. Retirees not yet eligible for Medicare would see a $30-a-year fee increase, to $260, for individual coverage and a $60 hike, to $520, for family coverage.

The committee’s bill also would allow these fees for retirees to be adjusted each year to keep pace with inflation. But while the Department of Defense wanted the fees indexed to medical inflation nationwide, the committee language would cap any increase to the percentage rise in retired pay made through by the annual COLA or cost-of-living adjustment.

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the new committee chairman, called it a “sensible” approach to TRICARE fees. The committee’s final version of the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2012 also would allow co-pays to rise, by $2 or $3, on prescriptions filled in the TRICARE network of retail pharmacies, a move to encourage greater use of TRICARE mail order.

Yeah, go ahead and argue that it’s a pittance…but, tell me what part of “promise of free health care for life” you don’t understand and I’ll try to draw you a crayon picture that you’ll understand. I fulfilled my promise to the country and I can’t get that back.

Let’s wait and see what everyone else is giving up to balance the budget.

Category: Veteran Health Care, Veterans Issues

Comments (22)

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  1. DaveO says:

    Before you go pulling out your crayon box on me, was there ever any resistance to free healthcare for life back when before all this became law & regulation?

    I’m used to the adage “Uncle Sugar giveth, and he taxeth/taketh away.” The cost problem is based on a lack of supply of doctors (MD type), and government subsidies of drugs and other paraphenalia (and a lack of petroleum, from which even the plastic bottles cost more than a Big Mac).

    To drive down the cost of TriCare back into the free-zone, the nation needs to start cashing in on its doctors: medical students graduate with an average of $150,000 in debt (based on a friend of mine who got her MD from UAB). Most of that is Federally Funded debt. So – cancel the debt in exchange for 10 years service. Shoot, put them in the Uniformed Health Service too, if they want.

    Recruit doctors from our honorably discharged Corpsmen, Medics, Nurses and so on. Free ride through college and med school in exchange for 10-15 years of service.

    I’m not saying draft these people – but we certainly can encourage them to serve in military/TriToGetCare/VA hospitals and clinics.

    As for Big Pharma? Cut off their subsidies. If the drug is too expensive to give out at Wal-mart prices, it won’t work to begin with.

    My two cents. Color away!

  2. Chockblock says:

    See, they claim that the promise was never made. It was. They play the game of “show me the regulation. Show me the law”.

    The truth is that most people who do 20+ years in the military are in no shape to keep working. I’m in Patriot. I’ve seen soldiers with less than four years of service ETS with bad knees and backs. Climbing on launches is hell on the body. Yet Congress and the left says “get a job”.

    ““sensible” approach to TRICARE fees.” = get a job when you retire you feeloader.

    I say we hike their med fees, or make them use Tricare.

  3. A Balrog of Morgoth says:

    To riff off of Chockblock, I just love the tools who complain about the “generous” pension we get after twenty years service. I mean, we can have a second career at age 42, right? That fact that without that pension we’d be starting over at a time when our peers are just entering their peak earning years is irrelevant, apparently.

  4. Outlaw13 says:

    Well, if they they tie the fee increase to COLA they won’t be increasing the fee aanytime soon because there hasn’t been a COLA for retirees in a couple of years now…so sayth the ACAP people.

  5. VTWoody says:

    See, its easy to confuse the situation and paint it with a broad description that they’re screwing soldiers who can’t do anything after serving 20 years. If you’re injured to the point you can’t work, that’s called going on disability. What % of jobs in the armed forces are ones where physical toil aren’t required. I’d say a good amount to be honest.

    Dental hygenists, cooks, bluebird drivers, quartermasters, there’s a laundry list of jobs that aren’t that hard on the body. We do have military members who have asvab requirements over 50 and do mentally challenging work instead of back breaking labor.

    Can you classify care by mos? Probably not. So until they make a designation based on mos, or combat tours or phyiscal requirements, eberyone is going to be treated the same. And by treated the same, they’re all going to have to pay what, even if you don’t like it, is a pittance. 500 bucks for a family to have health care. If its too much money, you better not have cable, smoke cigs, drink alcohol, go out to eat at restaurants, etc…

  6. A Balrog of Morgoth says:

    #5, I think the “it’s just a pittance” argument was already addressed in the OP, so I will leave that alone.

    In my case, it is not that “they” are screwing soldiers or cutting defense, it is fact that the ONLY thing they seem willing to cut is the DoD and Veterans’ Benefits.

    I think everyone here realizes that, the fiscal realities being what they are, Defense is gonna get the hammer. When I see that even ridiculous crap like federally-funded cowboy poetry festivals and NPR must be defended to the death, it just sort of sticks in my craw, you know?

  7. VTWoody says:

    Believe me what I say I agree with you. I hate handouts with a passion. But can we play this like “we took from the dod, the men and women who earned it and now we’re going to take a lot more from the leeches who haven’t”

  8. Doc Bailey says:

    I WANT to go back in finish my 20 (as an officer) and retire, But I remember the promises made to me when I initially enlisted “you retire in 20 years get free health care for life and can still go on and do another job”. It was only after the pace of operations started to talk a toll on my body that I found out about the fine print. Perhaps not in the Navy or AF, though I’m sure fighter Pilots have a mountain of issues, anyone involved with land warfare will incur over his career a host of issues usually in the “foot, knee and back” area but that doesn’t preclude arm shoulder neck and pelvic issues. The weight of the K pot, the weight of the IOTV, the weight of assault packs (as required MET-T dependent) or Aid Bags, plus any other additional gear required, wearing 60-120+ pounds of gear for even 8 hours a day (overly optimistic) will wreck your body in just a few years. You should have seen some of the profiles that deployed my second time. One guy had a P-3 which is technically nondeployable. I haven’t even started on Respatory, cardiac, intestinal or psychological problems. As we approach the 10 year mark on OEF, and with the OpTempo being wat it was from about ’04-’08, More than a fair share of Soldiers and Marines SIMPLY CAN’T MAKE IT TO 20. I got a medical chapter because my Chain of Command was too cheap to go for a Med Board (a factor I HOPE will be in my favor when I go back) but if they hadn’t I would most likely been medically retired. Now add in all the wounded. It elevates this Tricare hike from “a load of horse shit” to: “almost criminal.”

  9. Joe says:

    Hmmmm….. Unions that try and protect the promised hard-earned pensions and insurance benefits of American working men and women in vital jobs where injuries and disabilities are common, many of whose benefits were modified or yanked, are usually dispareged on this site. Interesting to see the the reaction when the shoe is on the other foot.

  10. DaveO says:

    Joe,

    You are unfamiliar with both workplace safety, the role of unions in that, and the topic of this discussion. Go educate yourself before braying your jacka$$ery.

  11. NHSparky says:

    Joe, once again, your seagull “swoop-and-poop” tactics don’t work with those of us who have spent significant time in both communities. You have NO fucking clue of the toll on a body even relatively “easy” frontline tasks or jobs have. Ever tried to load a 250 lb. MINSY rig on a submarine? Bring on shore power cables across a boom? Do a 90-day stores load? Ain’t no fucking cranes for it, and if you get sore, clean the sand out, man the fuck up, and get it done–and oh yeah, you’ve got the duty tonight.

    Try telling a union guy to pick up anything more than 50 lbs.

  12. streetsweeper says:

    Guess Sparky toll you, huh Joe!

  13. Chockblock says:

    Union guys can quit or decline to lift anything heavier than their paycheck. Me? I’d get slapped with UCMJ if I told my SGT “I can’t lift that!”

    “generous” pension? “Reasonable fee?”

    500 smackers is a lot if you’re on a fixed income. What if you can’t work due to PTSD or cancer? Cancer is a common risk for those of use who work with radars (not to mention the USN nuke field).

    PTSD. Are you going to tell someone with PTSD to get a job?

    Every servicemember will to back breaking labor. Sandbags won’t fill themselves. We have admin soldiers doing room clearing. Just because you have a “soft” mos don’t mean you won’t see combat.

    Disability = fixed income, fixed income means inflation HURTS.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a bucket of shit with a hole in it. Yeah you can say it’s only $60 but I shouldn’t paying anything.

    Compare what I get to what Lifeguards in CA get:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/144037/20110511/lifeguard-california-200000.htm

    They can retire after 30 years of service at the earliest age of 50 and collect 90 percent of their salary and full. healthcare benefits.

  15. Cakmakli says:

    The above is my comment. I hit enter before I added my name. Sorry.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Always fun to watch a republican scream when his socialized medicine is taken away. LOL

  17. Chockblock says:

    Not socialized. We eared it. How about you raise your right hand..oh that’s right. You’re *Anonymous*!

  18. AW1 Tim says:

    That isn’t “socialized medicine”. It was and is a part & parcel of the enlistment contract. It was promised to us as a means of offsetting the very dangerous and very difficult work we did/do, and because of the low salaries we had/have.

    Military folk are prohibited by Federal law from having a union. Soldiers & sailors & marines don’t get to punch a time clock, they don’t have 40 hour weeks and then overtime. It’s a fixed monthly pay and you are available 24/7.

    My life revolved around the flight schedule. I didn’t know what I would be doing the next day until it was posted, usually around 1500 hours. 3 hour preflight for a 12 hour mission & 2 hour debrief, all hours, all weather, and that was good duty compared to the dogfaces in the field.

    10-12 month deployments, transfer somewhere else every 3 years. Kids in and out of schools, houses, apartments. No friends, just other folks in similar situations.

    Mo, anonymous, it isn’t “socialized” medicine. It was earned compensation, and earned the hard way. Many of us got old before our times, but it’s a life we chose, and one I’d choose again if I could. Someone has to stand the watch, someone who gets it. From your comment, you don’t, and never will.

    respects,

  19. Stacy0311 says:

    here are the TriCare rates right from their website.
    right now I’m using TriCare Reserve select
    for me it’s $53.16/month ($637.92/year) if I choose to add my wife it $197.76/month ($2373.12/year) when I choose to retire (I have 25 years and plan on doing at least 30) I will switch to TriCare Retired Reserve. There I will pay
    $408.01/month($4896.12/year) or $1020.05/month for myself and spouse($12240.60/year). Now I will not be collecting that retirement check for 10 years AFTER I ‘retire’ regardless of the fact that 13 years of that 30 have been on Active Duty (so far). So thanks Congress for shafting us again

  20. Kenny says:

    #5

    How many operated outside of their MOS over the last 10 years? I would think it would be a large percentage so basing cost on your MOS would not work. You are infantry first.

  21. DaveO says:

    Here’s a question outside of the argument that this dustup is a matter of principle (which I support – gov’t must honor its contracts):

    If you could get better medical care, when you need it, and that includes access to specialists, and pharmaceuticals (sp?), why would you accept the restrictions and lower quality TriToGetCare?

    As an aside, ObamaCare is the VA and TriCare on steroids – enormous, overpaid bureaucracies with few actual MD and specialists. If the government is refusing to honor its contracts now with vets, who have some influence – what is it going to do with our fellow citizens who can’t speak up for themselves?

    IMO, if we can’t create enough doctors, as I wrote in #1, then we need a system of vouchers and tort reform that will allow vets and their dependents to go to civilian doctors. We’re paying so much in overhead for so little return.

  22. VTWoody says:

    Kenny, maybe the marines are infantry first, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say every army mos can be counted on to go carry out the infantrys mission. Simply shooting at the enemy when they shoot at you isn’t the same.