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Saturday, February 25, 2006


Just Remember Who Funds the Military

Alright, it's been a bit slow here 'cause we took a short trip. Too short to be exact! But, who ever thought a vacation was ever long enough?!

Back to some business - the Air Force Association's latest e-mail update regarding TRICARE and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits costs. I am going to focus on the issue of TRICARE and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel here.

You do need to know that no matter what, the same construct applies to anything regarding the funding of anything that relates to the US Military: Congress authorizes the budget, they pay the bills, the President and his staff only draw up a proposal (they are the executive branch). Congress is responsible for reviewing and approving everything that is in every nook and cranny of the budget.

The Executive Team proposes a budget and the run-rate for the entire system (our country) going forward. The Bean Counters work the numbers and adjust fiscal year targets responding with a Yea or Nay on the proposal. Everyone gets back to the table and "haggles" until the whole thing works for everyone. That's business. And, really folks, this country is run like a business! We may be a representative republic, but we still are a capitalist system and therefore must have this process under control and run by a CEO (CINC is the CEO, and the CFO/CIO/COO/Legal are in other seats!).

If everything that has been proposed passes this budget phase, and Congress has not stopped increases in fees for TRICARE and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, stop blaming the President. You really need to go after your slacker representatives!

Net-Net the proposed budget shows an increase in fees/co-payments (what you and I, if you are in the private sector, pay now) for visits and drugs. In some cases there is an "enrollment" fee for folks in Priority Groups 7 and 8 (folks that have illness/injuries not related to military service). Let's be honest, rates are going to increase for everyone, and in some cases these changes are upwards of a 40% increase overall!

Now, I never served 20 years. I am not under TRICARE. I am also not a Department of Veterans Affairs employee. I'm just a regular guy. I am already getting whacked by my company for benefits because I work at a small company and insurance companies love to rake the small companies - which translates to costs (I pay around $800/mth out of pocket) passed directly to the employee. No free ride here ...

If I had served 20, benefits should be very affordable for my family and I. No question. In fact, costs now, if they go unchanged and there are no increases, only costs 4% of the GDP. I think useless funding of some slacker programs eat up more of the GDP - so, why is there a need to change the Military's 4%? Leave the 4% GDP cost for Military Costs and Benefits steadfast and clamp down on some of these other slacker programs that just get slacker representatives reelected!

If these costs are going up, and the government (I use a generic term on purpose) sees fit to pass these fees on down the chain, what can a person do? How can a few of us get enough momentum going to change the wave of disrespect for those that sacrificed their lives for those of us riding on their backs? (yes, I served, but not as long, remember?) I believe that the 4% price for the US Military is small and well worth it when compared to the yearly paycheck these useless representatives pull down a year, sucking us all dry!

Sorry, I still think Washington gets paid too much for what they are doing for us these days ... off the soapbox now.

Anyway, there needs to be something done. I am mailing my useless representatives. What about you? Take the URL for the Air Force Association online article and pound away at your empty suit in Washington.

http://www.afa.org/media/press/07Budget.asp

It can't hurt!

Oh, the above is pretty simplistic - give me a break, I just got back from vacation! :)


Stay Tuned to ...

1 Comments:

At 2/27/2006 12:29:00 AM, Blogger Buck Pennington said...

Thanks, Steve. Those of us who ARE on TRICARE appreciate concern and action from those of you who aren't.

And just as a side note: I'm finding the care I get at the Cannon AFB clinic is FAR superior to the healthcare I received in 20+ years on civilian health plans, post-USAF. The big issue when I was on civilian health plans was finding a decent doctor, one I could trust and one who wasn't in thrall to the insurance companies and drug reps. I didn't find it to be an easy task. I'm always amazed whenever I hear someone, usually a spouse, not a member, complain about the quality of military health care. My experience, both on active duty and as a retiree, has been very positive. Can't say the same for some civilian providers I had. YMMV, of course!

 

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