I write on behalf of the members of the Association of the United States Army to urge you to cosponsor S. 3203, the “Military Health Care Protection Act of 2012”. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Frank Lautenberg and Marco Rubio, would establish much-needed appropriate standards for adjusting military health care fees.
Repeated budget proposals over the last several years have envisioned raising military TRICARE fees by up to $2,000 a year or more. While Congress has rejected those grossly disproportional increases, the continuing debate has aroused grave concerns among active duty and retired service members, families and survivors about the stability of this core element of their career retention incentive package.
Senators Lautenberg and Rubio have crafted S. 3203 to establish reasonable principles for setting and adjusting military health care fees, consistent with the very large sacrifices already imposed on career military families.
First, S. 3203 would show and awareness to the fact that that career service families pre-pay very large premiums for their health care in retirement through decades of service and sacrifice, over and above what they pay in cash. Further, S. 3203 establishes the standard that the annual percentage increase in military cash fees should be tied to no more than the percentage growth in military retired pay.
AUSA believes the combination of these provisions provides the appropriate balance, establishing a reasonable annual adjustment process that fairly recognizes already-paid, very steep in-kind premiums of extended sacrifice that very few civilians are willing to contribute.
I urge you to cosponsor S. 3203 and do all you can to secure its enactment.