WaPost supports Tricare hikes

| December 3, 2012 | 11 Comments

Chief Tango and Pat sent us a link to the Washington Post’s editorial today in which the Post advocates jacking up Tricare costs for military retirees.

Yeah, big surprise that the liberals at the Washington Post, who support Obamacare on the false premise that it will lower everyone’s healthcare costs, is willing to jack up healthcare costs for Tricare participants.

…[T]he administration plans cuts, including shrinking the Army and the Marine Corps. This is risky, given the potential threats the United States faces. Unfortunately, Congress is compounding the problem by protecting expensive items that inflate personnel costs without any corresponding payoff in defense readiness.

We refer to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s refusal to accept an administration proposal to trim Tricare, the military health-care program for which 9.7 million active and retired military personnel and family members are eligible. Obviously, those who serve or served their country deserve generous health benefits. But Tricare goes well beyond that. The service is free for active-duty service members and their families except for some prescription copayments. For retirees under the age of 65, many of whom are in the work force and eligible for employer-provided benefits, Tricare costs at most $1,000 per year out of pocket — less than a fifth of civilian plans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Um, “without any corresponding payoff in defense readiness”? How about retention? Isn’t retention a readiness issue? Who the hell is going to reenlist if we can’t trust the Pentagon to keep their promises?

Of course, their argument is that many retirees work and can afford health care, but then that’s not the point is it? We paid for our healthcare with our youth and our blood and sweat, based on promises that were made to us. That’s why it’s called a benefit. I don’t care if Tricare costs $.05/year – it’s too much, because that’s what we stayed in the service for.

The Post supports quadrupling Tricare enrollment fees;

The maximum fee would quadruple to $2,000 — still far less than most civilian plans. Most beneficiaries would not pay even that much.

I really don’t care how much less than civilian plans it would cost, that’s not the point. We were promised free healthcare in exchange for our youth and commitment. Now that we’ve fulfilled our end of the bargain, they want to renege on their promise.

No doubt America’s military retirees are a powerful lobby, their might enhanced by the basic justice of their claim to have given much to their country. At the moment, however, debt is one of the main threats to future U.S. national strength and security, and it makes no sense to deal with it in ways that would also undermine military readiness.

Oh, so now we’re a powerful lobby? Like the NRA or something? And, yes, the national debt is a security threat, but I don’t see the Post recommending a spending cut anywhere else but for military retirees. You’d think that if they were so concerned about the debt, they’d be urging the administration to make cuts in entitlement programs, like House GOPers are recommending, rather than trying to convince Congress to break their promise to veterans.

The modest cuts in Tricare benefits that Mr. Obama seeks are abundantly justified by the national interest. His Office of Management and Budget announced Thursday that the president’s advisers will urge a veto of a defense bill without Tricare reform; they would be right to do so.

You can call them “modest cuts” as much as you want, anything over “free” makes the government a liar. How many young soldiers are looking at this battle over their futures and deciding that it’s not worth their lives and the lives of their families to fight a battle with the government over every little benefit. And you don’t think that has an impact on military readiness?

Category: Media, Veteran Health Care, Veterans Issues

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  1. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    The Post’s constant invoking of civilian plans conveniently sidesteps the rather significant differences between the inherently dangerous nature of military service and, say, working at Bloomingdales or Bank of America. I particularly liked the tokenism the Post served up in saying that “those who serve or served their country deserve generous health benefits.” They then effectively argue that the generosity should be the equivalent or rough equivalent of civilian plans. And not to be overlooked is the Post’s use of the personal pronoun “their” in that line. I guess the Post found it partisan to say “our country.”

  2. MAJ Mike says:

    One of my former teaching collegues made a comment about my “free medical care”. I reminded him that I paid for that “free care” up front with 24 years of service, that I still paid a monthly fee, and that he had the same opportunity that I had participate in the same program.

    His only response was that “…military service wasn’t his thing.” Good thing for him that it was for some of us.

  3. RunPatRun says:

    I actually paid for daily delivery of the WAPO, until today. Also wrote a nice letter as to why I canceled…I could deal with all the liberal bias, but this editorial was the tipping point.

  4. Dave Thul says:

    While I disagree with Jonn on the need for Tricare to see some rate hikes, I think he and I both agree that active duty and military retirees should be the last group in line to get fleeced.

    The op-ed notes that the military is a powerful lobby, but the big difference is that unlike a union we don’t throw financial support behind a single party in the elections. Every other government worker group is organized into a union that has more lobbying power than we do.

  5. NR Pax says:

    I like how they try to say “modest cuts.” It basically sets it up so we seem unreasonable when we protest this.

    “Why are you so upset? This amount of money is trivial.”

  6. Charles says:

    The WaPo are a bunch of idiots, however they missed one thing about it like most liberals. It isn’t “free” most military members pay taxes that then go out to the defense budget to help pay for contractors that adminster the HMO called Tricare. It isn’t a great program and if you honestly look at it, its a serious pain the arse to deal with. I had my kid last year and they are still aruging about payments made to a civilian hospital for services rendered and I am pulling out my hair every month. The folks who adminster Tricare live all up to the sterotypes of hate filled paper pushers that don’t care about people with health care decisions.

  7. CUNextTuesday says:

    Interesting how they can modify a promise made to millions. I happen to be able to afford the increase but I know of others that are not as well off. They spent 20+ years in the service and now are being screwed out of their hard earned retirement. Absolutely unforgivable!!

  8. PavePusher says:

    “For retirees under the age of 65, many of whom are in the work force and eligible for employer-provided benefits, Tricare costs at most $1,000 per year out of pocket — less than a fifth of civilian plans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

    They conveniently neglect to mention that TriCare is the last payer, after all private insurance and Medicare. Lying by omission is still lying.

  9. Twist says:

    @6, I waited for tests for 6 months while Tricare had them under medical review, and then they decided I didn’t need them. I guess the folks up in their ivory towers know better than my doctor in what I need.

  10. With declining amounts to spend, the Administration must be cognizant of priorities. And I’m guessing this group realizes that they don’t get a lot of the active duty, retired military or military veteran vote. So, like they say in Chicago from which many of these folks hail, always reward your friends and punish your enemies.

  11. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    When Veterans start talking about how much of an increase they might afford, how much it should be, or try to explain why the increase looms, the towel has been thrown into the ring. If changes are to occur, they should only be effective for those entering the service after a certain future date. That way, recruits know what the deal is and can make an eyes-open decision about enlisting. This use ‘em and lose ‘em strategy is just plain wrong. And it’s not self interest speaking here. I have squat to do with TriCare.

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