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View Diary: Don't let sequester ax scholarships for children of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan (55 comments)

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  •  Cuts to Veteran's Tricare and Medicare Were Both (2+ / 0-)
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    Eric Nelson, MPociask

    included in the Administration's proposal to the Super Committee.

    Excerpt from 'Super Committee Targets Healthcare Cuts for Military Veterans.'

    Once military vets had the promise from the federal government that they would receive lifelong healthcare, but suddenly, even that is looking less likely, as the government tries to cut trillions from the deficit.  Both Democrats and Republicans alike are signaling a willingness, to make military retirees pay more for coverage.

    It’s part of Washington’s plan to help control costs in spending, as the Pentagon is pushing to cut health care costs that have skyrocketed from $19 billion in 2001 to $53 billion.  And this is a big turnabout, as the military is focused on building and arming an all-volunteer force for war. The Pentagon is providing health care coverage for 3.3 million active duty personnel and their dependents and 5.5 million retirees, eligible dependents and surviving spouses.

    Right now the retirees outnumber the active duty, 2.3 million to 1.4 million.  All of this is combined with the retirement pay, as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said personnel costs have put the Pentagon “on an unsustainable course.”

    Yet the resistance to health care changes is fierce.  This  has caused powerful veterans groups reitred generals to mobilize and fight any changes, arguing that Americans who were willing to die for their country should be treated differently than the average worker.  And the American Legion has sent letters to every member of congress, pleading with them to spare health care benefits. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has urged its 2 million members, their families and friends to contact lawmakers and deliver the same message.

    The two groups were unnerved when both parties’ leaders on the Senate Armed Services Committee — Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz. — recommended that the special deficit-cutting supercommittee look at raising enrollment fees and imposing restrictions on the military’s health care program, known as TRICARE. Current military members would be grandfathered in.

    “Any changes to TRICARE that put the burden back on the beneficiaries is not supported by the American Legion,” said Peter Gaytan, the group’s executive director. He wondered about future benefits for his 19-year-old nephew who heads to Afghanistan in December.

    And regarding Medicare:
    It also seeks around $400 billion in Medicare savings, with half coming in benefit cuts >and the other half in cuts to healthcare providers. Details of that proposal were scant but tackling the popular Medicare program is always politically risky for politicians in Washington.

    The Democratic plan proposes deeper cuts to Medicare than those envisaged by the summer budget deal. The automatic spending triggers would limit cuts to Medicare to 2 percent a year. Analysts say that would amount to about $123 billion in spending cuts for the program through 2021.

    Folks, we're scr**ed if we don't stop first the sequester, and then the "trade-off of entitlement cuts for revenue, or the Grand Bargain, or "austerity."  Take your pick.  ;-)


    "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


    by musiccitymollie on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 03:52:24 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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