President Barack Obama’s recent behavior is either an attempt to write off any remaining votes that he may have expected from the U.S. military, or simply have them “self-migrate” into Obamacare, by using his presidential force majeure.
The Washington Free Beacon reported today that contained within the 2013 Department of Defense budget, submitted by Secretary Leon Panetta, projecting $487 billion in game-changing cuts, is a provision which proposes increases in health care payments by service members, which seeks to reduce the Tricare [military] medical system $1.8 billion in 2013, and a total of $12.9 billion by 2017.
To achieve the budget cut goals requires substantial Tricare annual premium increases of between 30 to 78 percent in the first year; after which, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent–3 times greater than 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.
Retired Navy Capt. Kathryn M. Beasley, of the Military Officers Association of America, said the Military Coalition, 32 military service and veterans groups having an estimated 5 million members, is fighting the proposed healthcare 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.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars 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.”
As could be expected from an Obama administration budget, there are no such changes for unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits–a disparity that is causing a major backlash within the Pentagon that could undermine recruitment and retention, according to officials.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, was compelled to issue a statement Feb. 21, in response to the pushback coming from military personnel from all over the world.
“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.”
However, Obama administration officials have told Congress that one goal of the increase in soldiers fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program–in favor of alternatives established in 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.
A congressional aide involved in the process framed it this way … “Would you stay with a car insurance company that raised your premiums by 345 percent in five years?
Would anybody accept their taxes being raised 345 percent in five years?
Although Barack Obama may believe this is a very clever plan, with the fate of Obamacare in the hands of our Conservative-leaning Supreme Court this summer–its’ future is as doubtful as his precarious reelection bid.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein
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