07 January 2009

Military Health Cuts Coming Down the Pipe

Possible New Uniform for USMC After Sweeping Budget Cuts for the DoD

In an era of a spiraling federal deficit, it seems logical that the government would need to make some cutbacks here and there. An influential foreign policy guru from Haa-vad discusses how the Defense Department should be first on the chopping block. He doesn't get into cutting back on costly acquisition programs (F-22s, death rays, etc.) like other liberal publications, but he makes a vaguely open-ended statement that it all needs to be cut back. From Foreign Policy:
So you'd think that this would be the ideal time to rethink our global military strategy and look for some savings in the defense area. I'm not talking radical disarmament, but I don't mean just canceling gold-plated programs like the F-22 or abandoning the chimaera of national missile defense. If America has to tighten its belt, shouldn't that include DOD?
The DoD FY2009 budget is massive, indeed, but it includes things like $41.6B for military health, $107.8B in pay for active duty and reserves, etc. Anyone who's been on a base knows that it's not exactly an example of government largesse run amok. Most of the facilities look like a Stalin-era cement plant built in 1946 Romania. Messing with military health is another bad idea. The federal government is obligated to take care of active-duty members and their families, and the way with which the Foreign Policy post treats veterans as just another voting bloc is boneheaded. It's no secret that military personnel have some stressful gigs, and I've never seen so many gray-haired people in their 30s than senior enlisted guys, so maintaining adequate health is critical for having a military able to carry out its job. That's why it's a bit of shock (er, maybe not) to see the Congressional Budget Office looking to make some serious cuts on military health by imposing new TriCare fees. From Stars and Stripes (thx TSO):
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows why some military retirees and veterans could face higher out-of-pocket costs if the Obama administration and Congress take bold moves to reform the U.S. health system and to make federal health programs more efficient.

Among 115 “options” presented, though not endorsed, in the CBO report, several focus on raising Tricare out-of-pocket costs for retirees and one targets families. Others would tighten access to VA hospitals and clinics, or raise VA health fees, for veterans with no service-connected conditions.
Jonn Lilyea scolds us whippersnappers who have only served under Bush that a Democrat administration will mean troops on foodstamps, or something to that effect, like during the Clinton days. I certainly hope not. The military is a public service operating directly under provisions of the Constitution and not some voting bloc to be toyed with by threatening to cut benefits that aren't anything spectacular or lavish in the first place. While "trimming the fat" might be necessary during these tough times, just realize that they aren't just scrapping wizbang gizmotrons when you hear Defense Budget cuts.


subrookie said...

Lets say we have two citizens. One who did 2 or 3 tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, the other camped out somewhere under the I-90/I-5 interchange because, "hey! it's free camping". When the vet comes back from the war zone with mortar wounds, PTSD, or just needs a root canal I say we give that guy all he needs.

What I bet will happen is the funds used to give us air superiority, UAV capability, and possibly a new carrier version will be cut to provide fantastic social programs so some crazy dude can poop outside under the interstate and get free medical care.

I reluctantly admit I saw one of them poop outside yesterday.

LT said...

Well the real argument for not cutting military healthcare, besides the fact that our military deserves better, is that we put servicemembers' bodies through some shit. Twenty years of that and you've got a retiree with a littany of health problems. And, joes eat like shit and smoke and drink a lot so they've probably got high cholesterol and athlerosclerosis even though they've been PT'g 5 days a week (sr enlisteds and officers: the PT does taper a little...).

Shea said...

How about the congress, cut some of the contracting such as blackwater. Tric care sucks as it is and V.A. benefits are shameful, if it weren't for all the patriotism, and lies, no one in their right mind would serve voluntarily in the military, retirees can be recalled indefenitely

cathcatz said...

is democratIC administration...

that little rushism, hannity-speak thing drives me batty!

olgreydog7 said...

Tars like that guy think that the DoD spends money like every other gubment organization. You won't find any $500 toilet seats in the DoD. Unless they are nuclear grade, then maybe you will.

BTW, on leave in Hawaii, I let my hair grow out, what's left of it, because my skin was a little dry from all the sun and shaving. Anyway, I discovered that I have quite a bit of gray, at 28....I guess I'm finally living up to my handle.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Darren M said...

Ya' know, one of the MAIN reasons I stayed in the Army for 20 years was the medical. When I joined, it was FREE, and was supposed to be FREE after retirement if I made it 20 years without getting killed along the way. (It would seem the former and current Presidents gave it one hell of a shot to make sure I wouldn't retire)

So I retired, and pay for Tricare for my family and I. It's done a good job, but it's not free. Now some are proposing that I pay enough to bring it online with my company's HMO plan? Fuck them.

What's next, cut my retirement pay? I wouldn't want to be a congress-person if that ever came about. There are an assload of retired snipers still alive, and it probably wouldn't go over very well with any of them.

olgreydog7 said...

Darren, you should have been a congressman. All they need is one term to pull benefits IIRC.