February 28 2012

Crony Cutting?

Charlotte Hays

One of the things that bugged me about Michelle Obama’s otherwise admirable outreach to military families was the underlying notion that they are somehow part of a giant victim class.

But military families are about to become part of a victim class—thanks to the cash-strapped Obama administration’s defense cuts that will force military families to pay more for healthcare.

As a rule, I am always in favor of people getting less from the government. Military families are different: We owe them. Do you ever wonder if you would have had the courage to risk death or terrible injuries serving our country in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam?

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

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.

The military should not be the first asked to pick up the slack when the government has a hard time paying its bills. But there may be something more than meets the eye going on here: reportedly administration officials have told Congress that the idea is to get military families to opt out of the traditional care (Tricare) for military families and go into Obamacare.

So there you have it in one nasty trick: higher medical costs for military families bringing us one step closer to a single-payer system of health care. But the members of public unions won’t be asked to sacrifice. They are too important to the Democratic Party.

The Beacon has a truly mindboggling account of how drastically higher premiums will be phased in—but that is not all: it may end up costing you more than regular folks pay to Medicare if you have had the honor of serving in uniform:

As part of the increased healthcare costs, the Pentagon also will impose an annual fee for a program called Tricare for Life, a new program that all military retirees automatically must join at age 65. Currently, to enroll in Tricare for Life, retirees pay the equivalent of a monthly Medicare premium.

Under the proposed Pentagon plan, retirees will be hit with an additional annual enrollment fee on top of the monthly premium.

This new policy could have an impact on military recruiting—if you are going to take terrible chances on behalf of your country, you should at least know that your family will benefit.

 

 

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