November 28, 2011
On behalf of the membership of the Association of the United States Army, I write to urge you, when considering the FY 2012 Defense Authorization legislation, to oppose the amendment offered by Senator McCain that would tie future increases in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees to a Department of Defense health cost index rather than a linkage to retiree cost of living increases.
Both the House version and the Senate Armed Services Committee version of the Defense Authorization legislation agree that any increases in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees should not exceed the percentage increase in retiree cost of living allowances. Using Senator McCain’s proposed formula would cost enrollees many hundreds of dollars over time and would backtrack on an already agreed upon formula.
Retiree health care benefits are not gifts – they have been earned through blood, sweat, repeated deployments, missed birthdays and anniversaries and sometimes loss of limbs or life. Perceived erosion of benefits creates enormous morale, recruiting, and retention problems and leads to perceptions of betrayal of trust among those serving, those retired, and those who would join the all volunteer force.
Please oppose the McCain TRICARE Prime amendment to the FY 2012 Defense Authorization legislation.
GORDON R. SULLIVAN
General, USA Retired