Leah Barkoukis

The audacity of the Obama administration never ceases to amaze. On Friday, they threatened to veto a defense appropriations bill because it, in part, does not include hikes in healthcare fees for members of the military. The House bill  passed 299-120 in May. The official policy statement offers this objection:

TRICARE Fees and Co-Payments.  The Administration is disappointed that the Congress did not incorporate the requested TRICARE fee initiatives into either the appropriation or authorization legislation.  The Administration asks the House to reconsider the TRICARE fee proposals, which are essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs.  The $1.8 billion in savings are part of a carefully balanced FY 2013 Budget request.

The proposed increases in healthcare payments for members of the military members were reported by The Washington Free Beacon in February:

“The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.

The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.

The proposed increases in health care payments by service members, which must be approved by Congress, are part of the Pentagon’s $487 billion cut in spending. It seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017.”

Of course, it all goes back to propping up ObamaCare…

“Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.”

If the administration had their way:

"Significantly, the plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times 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.

The new plan hits active duty personnel by increasing co-payments for pharmaceuticals and eliminating incentives for using generic drugs.

The changes are worrying some in the Pentagon who fear it will severely impact efforts to recruit and maintain a high-quality all-volunteer military force. Such benefits have been a key tool for recruiting qualified people and keeping them in uniform."

This just makes it abundantly clear how the administration regards those who serve this country and have already given so much.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography