Monday, April 17, 2006
Patriots Day Questions.
Sorry for the lack of recent posts, but things have been hectic here at the Farm for the past several days. I have taken the time to respond to some of the recent comments (thanks for the clicks Ken!) and am ready to roll once again on this Boston Marathon Monday.
Here is a story that should make one think long and hard about joining the military. It seems that once again, Preznit Flight Suit Fantasy is sticking it to the very soldiers he claims to hold in such high esteem. Govexec.com excerpt:
Concerned that the Pentagon's plans to increase out-of-pocket healthcare costs would place financial burdens on military retirees, six senators have signed onto a bipartisan bill to curb the proposed fee hikes.
Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., introduced the legislation shortly before Congress began its spring recess late last week, despite repeated arguments from Pentagon officials that raising fees for military retirees under age 65, effective Oct. 1, would save $11 billion over the next five years. Under the legislation, the Pentagon could not raise fees for participants in its TRICARE military health system beyond the rate of growth in retiree pay.
A vocal coalition of military organizations opposing the Pentagon plan estimates it could cost some retirees an additional $100 a month. "Especially in a time of war, it is unthinkable that the administration would even consider dramatically increasing healthcare costs for those who have sacrificed for our country," Lautenberg said in a statement.
Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said on the floor last week that "it is essential that we honor our commitment and investigate all available options for funding our military health care system, rather than strap the bill on the backs of those who already have paid for their health insurance with their blood, sweat and tears."
The Senate bill differs slightly from legislation introduced in the House last month that would essentially thwart the Pentagon's plan to raise fees and require Capitol Hill's blessing before further increasing TRICARE costs. The House bill has 171 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors.
A Lautenberg aide called the Senate bill a more reasonable approach that would still help offset the military's burgeoning healthcare bills. But John Class, deputy director of government affairs at the Military Officers Association of America, said the Senate's measure "makes it a little too easy for DOD to go ahead and automatically raise [fees] each year."
Nonetheless, MOAA and three other organizations have written Lautenberg expressing their support for his bill. "We were extremely happy that at least there's something in both the House and Senate on this," said Class. The National Military Family Association wrote recently that: "The proposal to raise TRICARE fees by exorbitant amounts has resonated throughout the beneficiary population. Families see the proposals as a concentrated effort by DOD to change their earned entitlement of healthcare into an insurance plan."
But Pentagon officials have defended their TRICARE proposal at a slew of public hearings and in private meetings with lawmakers. The military has not raised TRICARE premiums and other fees in 11 years, despite hefty increases in healthcare costs.
How ironic it is for me to find this story on Patriots Day. Two questions come to mind. First, why does the President hate the troops? Second, shouldn't the men and women who have put their lives on the line, and who have been injured as a result of having done so be guaranteed that one, they will never have to pay another cent for their health care, and two that they should never, ever have to listen to the empty platitudes of a delusional, petty, vindictive little tyrant whose actions toward them demonstrate that he views them as simply another disposable resource for him to discard when his amusement is finished? Ken, what do you think?