Torchbearer: Budget proposals – ‘Breaking the Faith’ 

 

 

New ILW Torchbearer Alert: Administration’s FY2013 Budget Proposals for TRICARE, Military Retirement

AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare has recently released a new publication.

"Breaking the Faith" (Torchbearer Alert, February 2012) summarizes the administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposals to increase health care fees and reconsider the structure of the military retirement system.

The administration’s proposed fee hikes for all retirees’ TRICARE access are unprecedented. For many military retirees under age 65, annual fees for TRICARE Prime would triple or quadruple by 2017; TRICARE Standard and Extra would also implement new enrollment fees and increase the size of families’ deductibles. For military retirees over age 65, the administration proposes hefty new annual enrollment fees for TRICARE-for-Life. Co-pays for pharmaceuticals would also increase substantially.

Further, the administration proposes the creation of a commission to recommend cost-effective changes to the military retirement system. This commission would have authority similar to the BRAC process, effectively limiting elected officials’ involvement. Elsewhere, various ideas have been floated recently that would effectively "civilianize" military retirement by modifying the existing defined-benefit pension plan and/or doing away with the 20-year retirement threshold.

The paper emphasizes that even though these ideas have been portrayed publicly as necessary for long-term fiscal sustainability, they would actually do very little to alleviate the nation’s fiscal crisis. However, they would severely impact the well-being of those who have already risked and sacrificed more than their fair share, and they could have serious consequences for force readiness.

It is imperative that Congress and the administration preserve the full value of soldiers’ earned deferred compensation. You can help by visiting the AUSA website, clicking on the Legislative Action Center icon, and contacting your elected officials to remind them to defend soldiers’ compensation.

This and other ILW publications are available online at http://www.ausa.org/ilw and can also be obtained by calling (800) 336-4570, Ext. 4630, or by e-mailing a request to ilwpublications@ausa.org.