Democrats Plan Attack on Military Retiree Health Benefits

Written by Thomas D. Segel


tomsegel_b1.jpgMay 16, 2009
by Thomas D. Segel

Harlingen, Texas
While the Obama Administration loudly proclaims that it has a mandate to make health care available to every American, a move is underway by the Democrats, through the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to effectively reduce such care for some of the most vulnerable of military veterans. 

Legislation has already been prepared that will drastically change and reduce the Tricare for Life benefit plan that assists military retirees over the age of 65.

The Tricare for Life plan was established by law after a decades long fight to make the government live up to its promise to provide earned health care to military retirees and their dependents, who had faithfully served their nation for more than 20 years.  Though a battle on this issue traveled all the way to the Supreme Court, it was determined that the Armed Forces of the United States did in fact promise lifetime health care to career service personnel, but did not have the authority to make such promises.  Congress was admonished to take corrective action.

The end result was only half a loaf.  Congress agreed to provide a supplement to Medicare for those military retirees above the age of 65.  That supplement, titled Tricare for Life, would cover any additional costs not paid by Medicare.  However, the retiree would still be required to enroll in Medicare and accept the services that program offered.

Many of these retired military veterans were in desperate need of these medical services when the law was enacted.  Those needs continue today.  The men and women, many of whom suffer the after effects of combat related wounds, illnesses associated with everything from Agent Orange to the Gulf War Syndrome, and multiple ailments inflicted upon them during years of military operations on foreign shores, are among our most vulnerable senior citizens.

This appears to mean little to our new administration and a majority congressional membership that campaigned for election and reelection on the backs of the leftist anti-war, anti-military faction of this country.  Now with an almost unstoppable majority in the legislative branch of government, they are seeking to severely alter a medical service previously awarded to a very deserving body of retired service personnel, because, according the CBO these retirees "overuse" their health care program.  There seems to be no thought given to the fact that these particular senior citizens are more medically impaired than the average American of similar age.

The CBO is now seeking passage of their draft legislation that would require these retired military personnel to pay the first $525 of medical cost and 50% of the next $4,750 per person.  They claim these changes are needed to help pay for the other programs the President has promised his constituents. Such a change will effectively end the Tricare for Life program that has offered comfort to those who spent their lives defending the nation.  Anyone who has worn the uniform of this country should oppose such legislation and speak out strongly and often to all of their elected officials.  This is another of the many changes we can NOT accept.
Thomas D. Segel

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