Vfw Supports New Legislation To Block Tricare Increases

Discussion in 'Veterans of Foreign Wars' started by DonaldN, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. DonaldN

    DonaldN New Member

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    WASHINGTON (March 15, 2006) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is strongly supporting the Military Retirees’ Health Care Protection Act (H.R. 4949) that was introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday by Reps. Chet Edwards (D-TX) and Walter Jones (R-NC).

    H.R. 4949 is in direct response to the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2007 budget proposal that, if left unchallenged by Congress, would double and triple annual premiums for some retirees under the age of 65 who are enrolled in the military’s Tricare health care system.

    Under DOD’s plan, enlisted retirees in the grade of E-6 and below would see overall Tricare Prime premium increases of 41 percent for single or family coverage within two years, and senior enlisted and officer retiree premiums would increase by 106 and 204 percent, respectively. The budget proposal also has automatic premium increases built-in for future years.

    “DOD’s proposal is absolutely unacceptable,” said VFW Commander-in-Chief Jim Mueller, a Vietnam veteran from O’Fallon, Mo.

    “The military is not a commercial business that can offload health care and other personnel programs and benefits just to increase its bottom line,” he said, “because the bottom line in the military is its people, not its budget.”

    H.R. 4949 would prohibit the current premium increase proposal and transfer the authority for future military health care program increases and enhancements to the Congress. The bi-partisan bill, which already has four dozen co-sponsors, was sent to the House Armed Services Committee for evaluation. If approved by the committee, it would then be forwarded to the House floor for a full vote.

    “DOD’s proposal sends the wrong message to those who served, those who are serving, and to those who are contemplating military service,” said Mueller. “I urge the Congress to ensure that our retirees are not forgotten in the budget process.”

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