DoD Budget 2012: Pay and TRICARE

The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is making the rounds talking about his proposed FY2012 budget. Although currently light on details, the news seems good for military pay and benefits, but, not-so-good for military retirees who rely on TRICARE.

Military Pay and Benefits – Defense Secretary Gates plans to cut troops in order to cut costs. The troop level cuts are not to start until 2015, but this does reflect Gates’ earlier statements about looking at cutting troops before cutting pay and benefits.

TRICARE – On the other hand, Sec. Gates has stated that he is seeking changes to the military’s TRICARE medical program, noting that fees have not risen since the program replaced CHAMPUS in 1995. He said he is proposing modest increases to fees for working-age military retirees.

According to TRICARE the per beneficiary cost for their major programs break out as follows:

  • TRICARE Prime, the managed-care option that covers all active-duty members and many retirees, costs the government $4,202 per beneficiary per year.
  • TRICARE Standard, the program’s fee-for-service plan, costs $3,584 per beneficiary per year.
  • TRICARE for Life, for beneficiaries age 65 and older, costs the government $3,874 per patient per year.

Gates has continuously sought TRICARE fee increases for retirees as means of addressing military health care costs. It appears he is determined to get it done before he leaves office. This idea always draws heavy fire from military retirees, but it seems that something will be done one way or another.

It is hard to argue that something shouldn’t be done, but are targeted fee increases the DoD’s only option? Be part of the discussion here and directly with Congress and the DoD. Use our Legislative alert tool to reach your elected and appointed officials.

Read more about the proposed changes to TRICARE and other DoD budget cuts.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

343 Comments on "DoD Budget 2012: Pay and TRICARE"

  1. Well, thank you, Mr. Secretary! When YOU retire, what will YOUR health insurance cost you? Also; What about YOUR "COLA'S"? Just curious!

  2. Senior Chief's Wife | January 8, 2011 at 10:09 am |

    He's sitting his butt in a cushy chair, making 6 figures and not be shot at. HIS salary and bennies should be cut FIRST.

  3. Roy Weintraub | January 8, 2011 at 11:38 am |

    RetNavyCPO: 1st we had the "peace dividend" w/ the collapse of the Soviet Union & now to reduce gov't spending, we'll cut troop levels again. Mr.Gates, since you're such a genius, tell us where the missing $500 billion of stimulus money went?

  4. Contrary to what the lying Congress, Military and Adminisration tell the American people, many of us where told that if you voluteer for the military, your family and you will be assured of free medical care for the rest of your life along with other benefits. Of course this is for those us that served during the Viet Nam "War" period. Now, not only is the Adminisration and Congress looking again to cut those assured benefits arguing that the various U.S. Codes did not assure us of any of those promised benefits and therefore we aren't owed them. I can only surmise that those of us who were recruited with these lies as incentives dangled in front of our faces by recruiters trying to meet recruitment goals can be found at fault for believing the nation's representatives and not checking U.S. Codes in attempts to determine whether their promises were in accordance with law. This nation owes those of lied to for broken promises and continued erosion of benefits promised. I served my country for 20 plus years and owe no further sacrifice until I start seeing Congress and Administration scarificing their benefits as well.

  5. In 1957 when I argeed to join the United States Army, the befits after 20 plus years would be free medical care and dental care for life. In 1980 the United States Congress in the stupid wisedom say hay, Those military retirees are costing us to much. Lets cut their befits and make our friends in the insurance industry a healthy profit by calling it Tricare Medical and Tricare Dental. this way those military retirees will have to pay to get health care. Now when I turned 65 years old I sent a letter from MacDill AFB telling me I will no longier be receiving care at the Clinic on base The following was in the letter I received.( GO FIND A CIVILIAN DOCTOR). Wrote a letter to Senator Bill Nelson never hear from him. AM I PISSED YOUR DAM RIGHT I AM. Now they want to screw the new retirees. Shame on Gates, after you leave office you will be still be able to use Walter Reed Army Hospital. But I Can't

  6. Wonder who they expect to operate all that unecessary equipment the politicians keep on buying to get campaign contributions? Start with the pork, then move on to all those bases with absolutely no strategic value, in addition, let the big economic nations carry the weight for their own defense. Then we can work on the over paid and underworked military servicemembers.

  7. BOBBY G. ANGEL | January 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm |


    B. G. ANGEL
    RET. CPO.

  8. Congress keep wanting to make deep cuts. But you never hear about them cutting the wages or benifets.
    I put in 35 and so fare it doesen't look to good for me

  9. This is such ********!!!

  10. US ACTIVE DUTY ARMY | January 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    Wow. What a jack-wagon. Cut troops? Seriously? And what is up with the tri-care?! What happened to taking care of our soldiers?! It must be nice being him. But what are we going to do?! I'm sure his retirement will be nice.

  11. our govt is a piece of crap. we sacrifice and some give all and this idiot wants us to pay for it. our congress is the biggest joke nxt to the idiot in the whitehouse.
    sorry i ever voted for any of them.
    makes m sick.

  12. When the Obama Congress passed the Health Care Reform, the Congress did not include themselves in the reform. Their healthcare coverage will remain a very good plan even after they "retire" and return to civilian life. They can return to normal jobs and still receive their government pension even though they are of "working age". If congressional members are able to receive their benefits after less than 20yrs., why should young military retirees be treated differently. They put in their time for the government in far less favorable conditions and are now going to be told "sorry but as a cost cutting measure, we are going to withhold your retirement until you turn 62 or 65 (maybe you will die in the meantime and we won't have to pay you) and we are also going to charge you for your healthcare." This is bulls**t!!!!!
    I am the daughter of a USAF retired Lt Col and the wife of a retired USMC and to have present non-military serving government piss on servicepersonnel is beyond belief. I hope GOD takes this country before we condemn ourselves by such unholy actions.


  14. This dialog should reach all those currently serving on active duty and those considering the military as a career option. My advise to them is to remain aware of how the warriors of the past are being treated by their government and make educated, informed decisions about the all volunteer service. When the value added of promised future benefits is eroded, recruitment and retention shall take a nose dive! Current retirees must keep the pressure on D.C. to remain aware of this connection. Breaking the faith with those that have served shall have negative impacts on current readiness and National security. If you are a retiree I urge you to be vocal to your representatives…write letters, ring their phones, call the media and talk straight to those in uniform. Join a retiree association like MOAA, Fleet Reserve, etc… they are excellent lobby forces. Let's focus and stay the course. Not only are our benefits at risk, but so is this great Nation.

  15. Here we go again! Brought to you by the same senior leadership who talk out of both sides of their mouths. They have no qualms about sending tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines into combat, many who never come back and thousands of others who come back with horrific wounds that have forever altered their lives. if our government is serious about having a professional, all volunteer military, they better accept the fact that it will cost money to sustain and support. If they can't do that, then maybe we, as a country don't deserve the extreme sacrifices made by these brave men and women. For those who have spent an entire careeer, knowing that at a moments notice they might have to lay their lives on the line, we owe them more than we could ever repay. We should not be using them as scapegoats for the current budget issues and post retirements benefits such as health care should be off limits. Once enlistees see what is in store for them if they choose a military career, they will start voting with their feet and it will mean a return to the draft just to keep up minimum manning. Are we ready for that?

  16. Brent Nixon | January 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Sadly times and circumstances change. Military life has its highs and lows. Some have better experiences than others, but after your first tour,if you sign on again, you have to accept whatever comes your way. We have moved from large numbers of troops to smaller more efficient technological force. On average your benefits are better than most if you stay. And some use their military experience and their GI bill to advance themselves in the civilian world to levels they might not have otherwise reached. Stay positive and count your blessings.

  17. And now to 80 yr. old widows -"they also serve who wait"….24 yrs. and three unaccompanied tours

  18. Never ceases to amaze me, our VietNam era medical benefits were slowly shaved, now this! What is even worst, all these Secretary appointees, and, congressional politicians get better medical than veterans, and, not to mention the active duty personnel. Walter Reed, Bethesda, John Hopkins, or anywhere else they are at the time. Must be nice! Come 2012 election time, ALL you retirees and active military, just remember who is really supporting military benefits!

  19. Forgot to mention. How many of you have heard from physicians/clinics, that they are slowly not accepting anymore TRICARE insurance! Reason, it doesn't provide sufficient reimbursement!! Well, here in New Mexico, this is starting to spread. If you already have a primary provider, your probably safe, otherwise, don't assume doctors will automatically accept TRICARE.

  20. semper fi ???????

  21. The Defense Departments new budget strategy…Just Die….Another one bites the dust….

  22. The problem is the military is being compared to civilian occupations as if they were the same thing.

    "The current TRICARE enrollment fee was set in 1995 at $460 a year for the basic family plan and has not been raised since," Gates told reporters. "During this time, insurance premiums paid by the private sector and other government workers have risen dramatically. For example, the fees for a comparable health insurance program for federal workers cost roughly $5,000 per year."

    This is absolutely nuts. How many civilians have done multiple 12+ month tours in Iraq or Afghanistan?

  23. Promises from our Gov't on all things dealing with Veterans of it's wars are seldom reliable. The arguments are well known, especially to those of us who willingly served. If the DOD and Congress wants to save money which they do need to do… then do so outside of the Veterans benefits. For gosh sakes don't be stupid enough to compare Veteran to some civilian employee.

    Fyerther more the disabled Vet already has the VA payment for his/her injuries deducted from their retirement check now… how is that fair?

  24. R. Roosa (AFRET) | January 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm |

    How sad this has all become. Our system of government has gone in the toilet. Congress and the Senate think the only "people" who matter are the ellite wealthy that pad their election coffers. Neve mind the military person who raised his hand, stuck his neck out, got shot at, and not once but multiple times, stood in the heat of battle, bravely defending this great country. What the hell Mr. Gates. Are you going to cut your benefits when YOU leave? Somehow I doubt it. And about that $500 Billion, I would like to know what happened to it as well. I am sure there is a logical explaination, like toilet seats, hammers. As a retired Vet, I am applaud at the bad behavior you and the rest have exhibited while charged with operating my country. Leave TriCare along Mr. Gates.

  25. ken mcmanaman | January 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    IT IS NOT RIGHT, as a Reservist, to have served and spent many, many, many weekends, weeks, etc. away from home, not seeing my kids grow up, losing a spouse as a result, and now, after 32 years service, to say "hey, we're gonna take away the benefits we promised you….." If this Congress doesnt make this right, and take out all the wasted monies spent aned pissed away elsewhere, then it would not suprise me if a Revolution were to occur….Not Fair, Not Fair, Not Fair, NOT RFAIR — for once do what you say you are going to do US Government!!!!!!

  26. What would you expect for this current administration, past Congress and Senate? They lied to the American public and probably sold their souls to the devil in an effort to pass the Health care reform bill, they lied to us about insurance premiums and now that companies are raising their rates to cover the new requirements that the health care law now requires, they point their fingers at the ugly insurance companies. THEY LIED AND NOW THEY WANT US TO BELIEVE IT WASN'T THEIR FAULT.

  27. Richard Brewster | January 11, 2011 at 6:30 am |

    Folks you gotta realize that retirees are no longer useful to the military. You have completed your task. Now you are susposed to move on and get food stamps, go to health dept. get free condoms etc. They need the money for hussien to give to his foreign countries.. Veterans are just that.. veterans. used up, done, burden to the agencies… COULD I BE WRONG??? RET MSG..

  28. Thomas Davis | January 11, 2011 at 7:56 am |

    Instead of taking more away frrom the Veterans why not look at some of the benefits the governments gets. Serve 1 term in the senate and get your full pay for the rest of your life, why not make it 2.5% like it is for the military when they retire? Or, how about making them pay for their life insurance while in, or after leaving, office? I am sure this would do a lot for the deficit, and short falls of the government. But instead it is let's take something else away from the Veterans that were promised to them, like has been happening for many years.

    If you keep take away from the Veterans, and Retirees, soon their will be no Retirees, because no will stay around long enough to retire if there is no reason to. Just waiting to see what we lose next.

  29. Why does congress and the senate not cut their own benefits. Do our former presidents and their offspring really need all those security details for life? We don't get them but then a GI and his family have always been 3rd class citizens unless needed to fight a war (conflict) whatever you may want to call it. Since I am the widow of a 100% disabled veteran I guess I will be the first to get the benefits I receive now cut. My husband died for his country we gave 200% during the 20 yrs. he spent on active duty doing without, etc. I am sure everybody has gone through the same thing. Now lets get real, Gates you have no clue. Maybe you should be active duty instead of sitting in a comfy office making decisions about something that you have no idea of what it means. Leave TriCare as it is and cut your own benefits and those of your cohorts and stop screwing around with our benefits.

  30. Another Obama anti military person. We served our country and would have gave up our lives for our country and this is what we get. I gave up 21 years of my life (my family and I) and moved every 2 or 3 years to wherever they wanted me to defend this country even if it was to lose my life. No increases in retirement and now increases in TRICARE. My retirement isn't real big but I served my country because I loved it. Many of my buddies (women and men) lost their lives and are burried out in the National Cemetery where my son is burried and where my wife and I will be burried.

  31. Who determines what a "working age" is? For someone who saved their money and planned ahead, maybe 55 is not working age. For Mr. Gates, 85 is still working age. If you want to change retirement pay and TRICARE, all you have to do is grandfather those of us who were made promises. Raise fees and defer retirement pay for anyone entering the military after 200X. But then you'll see how many people stick around for 20 or 30 years…

  32. George Army Retired | January 11, 2011 at 9:07 am |

    For most of my working years I did not use my earned military medical benefits, I either did not go to the Doctor or used my employer provided medical benefits. Now that I’m using Tri Care Sec. Gates is proposing to enact over the top fees at a time I can least afford them. We were told by recruitors, the literature and military and congressional leaders at the time that this was one of our earned benefits to off set the low pay and arduous career lifestyle/expectations. if there are any fee increases they should be tied to increases in the Cost of living/military pay, not on some arbitrary date in the past. Don’t balance your failed budgetary management on the backs of the Military Retiree!

  33. Do you think for one minute that Mr. Gates gives a damn about any of these messages? He ain't reading them. He's looking at Obama numbers. When Mr. Obama approached the VA about sucking the blood out of our military health plans to feed his healthcare debacle (a preconceived notion that he used as a playing card for his election) only to have the VA shut him down- resulting in his sarcastic comeback (paraphrased in short): '… I though you guys were supposed to be patriotic?', you can go figure that since his administration can't get it through our front door, their gonna do it in our rear. For those of us who forecasted this obamanation, and are seeing how these dimwits are bringing down this country, many will think it is time we should grab our guns and REVOLT!!! But that only hampers our cause further. There is no easy answer. This nation was built on the sweat and blood of hard fighting, hard working, common sense folk, and sadly, what has held us together is war. Without the weapons industry and our military, we're just the fat kid on the playground who'll get beat up all the time… Go ahead Mr. Gates- break our backs, break our Nation- you and your buddy Barrack…


  35. Before you haul out your gun and REVOLT, keep in mind President Obama and Mr. Gates don't vote on a single bill or amendment. So, instead of hating on the these guys too strongly, consider the idiot congressmen and Senators who do vote on bills, budgets and amendments and will tack on so much BS to and thing suggested by the white house it does not further anybody's cause. You see, it is not the massager of the need for change that is at fault it is those who don't want to do the hard work of making and voting on good and meanful changes.

  36. Michael Armstrong | January 11, 2011 at 10:16 am |

    Yes Mr. Gates how many times have had you taken a gun to work or were ey shot at while working or almost been blown up probably none. So what civilian all has to do all this. So please don't ever compare a military job to a civilian job it just makes you look stupid. And if you need help with your budget please give it to a military wife I'm sure she can help you especially one that's been in 20 years plus because they have to take care of a budget.

  37. Marty Hilliard | January 11, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    I have to agree with everyone here, however I can not complain about it. Afterall, we voted these people in, so if you voted for the lesser of two evils well you got it. We are always complaining about their benefits and how they cut ours. What are we doing about it, really nothing. Everyone does their duty and vote because they have a right too. Be what would happen if no one voted for these guys. They would either have to go back to the drawing board and find someone else or really show you how free everything is and how your vote doesn’t count because they would put who they want in there anyways. If you dont want them to cut our benefits then stop voting for someone who hasn’t had military experience. Of course, Gates was appointed but by who, someone who doesn’t have military background. This is just my opinion. I like that we are fighting a war and talking about cutting back troops. Will I be in a fox hole one day and look to my left and right and see how the troop cuts have affected me. They don’t want to cut pay but maybe they should. I did not come in for the pay but because it was my duty to my country. Just so happened that I stayed 31 years but that was never the plan. Heck it didn’t pay anything and as for the job skills I got as an infantryman gets, well that we know how marketable I was.

  38. Was Gates not in the previous Administration?

  39. Once again you have a man in a positon of power who never served in the Military making military decisions! Like everyone else has pointed out — he will have a nice retirment and I am sure his medical benefits will be free! Thank you to all the men and women who served before me, with me and who are still serving today!!!!! We volunteered, no one twisted our arm! We chose to serve our Country at least our Country do something for us besides take away our last major benefit! US Army Retired

  40. Defense Secretary Gates

    I'll bet you took your pay raise this year.. You keep pressing to make the retired military pay for what they were promised woud be free. And those that are using the VA hospitals the VA keeps cutting the services and outsourcing. When is someone going to take care of those that fought and gave up so much for the freedom of this country. From what I've seen the people making all the decisions and controlling the purse strings for the military aren't and never have served time in the military protecting and fighting wherever we are and were told to fight. I did my time during the Vietnam era and fought that war that nobody wanted to be part of but I and many like me did what our country ordered just as the young service members are doing today. Are you going to screw them too. It is time you take your suit off and walk in their shoes. Quit taking away what we earned and of course we don't get a cost of living raise because the cost of living didn't go up in 2010 but everything cost more out of my fixed income.

  41. USAF Retired SMSgt | January 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

    My family has sacrificed more than I could imagine. My wife was left several times to raise our children alone, while I was deployed. Crisis after crisis she stood fast and handled it all. She never enlisted, nor was she ever commissioned. She knew what she was getting into when we got married. There were promises of free dental and health care; both already broken. Now I see how this administration really feels about our country and those who served. As they squat, urinating on us, laughing, getting all their great free health care benefits and fantastic retirement, remember them at election time. It's all we have left to make things right again.

  42. As a retiree, I too am upset about the move to increase healthcare costs with Tricare. We need to come up with solutions on how to pay for it. How about this? We could get free medical as promised. Let's get er done!__Congressional Reform Act of 2011 __1. Term Limits. __ 12 years only, one of the possible options below.. __ 2. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office. __3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. __4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. __5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. __6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. __7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. __8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11. __The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

  43. Remember, Retirees helped hire these jack-wagons we can as a very large group remove them. Keep in mind that the President has surrounded himself with book-smart people who lack street smarts and common sense. Do we see any enlisted people in the white house or on any committes that look at the military NO only Officers who relied on enlisted to get them where they are. Enlisted retirees keep in mind the Officers were only as good as the enlisted under their commands. The administration as awhole including congress do not have a lick of common sense. If you want a job done right send a rag hat in sailor terms.

  44. run-don't look back | January 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    B__SH__!! I've done my time with false promises. When you are lied to, all respect is lost, yet that's what was taught to us in the military – RESPECT, and now you throw SH– in our faces. I may be at a "working age", but that doesn't do any good, if you don't have a job!! and no one is hiring people in my age group. Why not give us retirees some positive news – set the example. Is this what you want us to pass onto future generations – LIES!

  45. bve read some of these and can see why we are angry about some situatu, my husband put 20 yrs in the navy and then approx12 or so in dod before becoming injured. i put 10 or so in dod before becoming injured. we had a home invasion in 1997 and my husband was shot and killed and i to was injured. after 35 yrs of service my husband recieved nothing//// no ins no nothing. we did manage to get survivors benefits which we paid for, ive written to everyone with no response, only well get back to you, u know how that goes/// because he did not die from service related injuries he was due nothing.///even though he was completely disabled from his injuries from dod. yes i am angry but ive been trying now foe 13 yrs, no help yet, were are thet when you need them. i dont even know if he was due vet [ayments// got any ideas//

  46. Thomas Bittner | January 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm |


    Broken promises, broken promises, no retired pay increases, now they want to cut or charge us more for health care, maybe if they cut, or started to pay for some of the own bennies, they would not have to touch tricare.for the retires.
    What do they consider working age retires, 60, 62, 65????

  47. Gates is an Obama appointee. I will follow what member vote to increase these fees and I will hold them and Obama responsible when I vote!

  48. The issue in my opinion is if they had gradually increased the fees each year, there would be no need to increase them drastically now. Also, since when has the government kept its promises? Remember all of the native Americans still on reservations, and still living in poverty? There were all kinds of promises made to them that were not kept.

  49. It's interesting that the Secretary wants to cut the number of troops. With some of the highest suicide rates in decades as a result of multiple tours to combat zones, the plan is to –what? — decrease them further and make combat zone tours permanent changes of station? During 'Nam, service members were only required to make one tour into combat. Maybe some of the bean counters should spend three or four years in combat assignments, and then get the opportunity to revise their positions on troup strength. To simply sit back in their cushy offices, and spout "Well, you did volunteer you know" ought to be cause for firing. These young kids today are being treated like cannon fodder to a degree unimaginable by even VietNam vets.

  50. Michael E. Banyacki | January 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    Enough is Enough Secretary Gates! What is it that you don't seem to understand that TriCare for Life is now and has become an earned benefit from the dedication of soldiers who have put themselves into harms way, have endured numerous family sacrificies and finally after requesting from the Congress for over 30 years a law was passed by Congress giving military members TriCare for Life which previously was promised to the military if they would faithfully serve the country. And while I'm on the subject, stop trying to compare an equality to federal civilian service who pay for their health care, as "no civilian has had to endure anything or ever will what military families and soldiers both male and female endure while being a part of the military organization." This item is not a line item to be adjusted by your whim or that of any other Secretary of Defense.

  51. Secretary Gates is using the poor economy and record enlistment and reenlistment rates to propose the cuts. If the economy was strong he would never propose these cuts. He is taking advantage of our troops and treating them like factory workers not front line combatants. Let us hope he will be replaced in 2012 for the sake of our sons and daughters in the military and Veterans.

  52. Gates can clamour all he wants about raising Tricare premiums, but it won't happen. The veteran's lobbyists are simply too large and strong to go against. This jackass's efforts will be thwarted the same as all others who have tried. Messing with the military or the vets is the same as messing with the bull….you WILL get the horns!

  53. USAF retired NCO | January 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    I fall into the benifit gap… Just after Vietnam and before the GI bill was reinstated. I too was promised free mrdical care and a pension (Albeit I was going to pay social security tax and not be able to collect.). Of course I was quie cynical and like the paratrooper with the failed chute I didn't belive the truck would pick me up either. I don't remember who said it but the statemnt "nobodies life, liberty or property are safe while congress is in session" seems appropos here.

  54. $3,874 per person for TFL. I noticed that he says the government pays that. NOT DOD. TFL is funded outside of the DOD by Congress. Whey Is he trying include it in DOD budget? So that he can increase revenue to DOD and expand his control. He quoutes pairity with FEHBP, WHY they haven't for the most part served in the military. For a couple under his proposal would be paying 2 to 3 times as much as under FEHBP.

  55. mr. sect. sir. here we go again—cut-cut vets of all the WARS and conflicks;hot spots; so you can remain FREE; to dov the cutting of pay and bennfits we earned for you and yours can live free and breath good air. While you and people like you can sit on your throns and cut what little benifits left a the dying vets. i was told this would happen one day. However I didnot belive it would happen. how wrong????Its funny a couple days ago I called TRICARE to see if I could get some dental workdone,on a set of dentures I got in veitman (danang)the lower plate just broke.(amangch that only how them since 1968). anyway a gal at TRICARE,I could take out dental insurance;keep it for a year and TRICARE would cover 1/2 in a year if I kept it up and a dentis would take it.TRICARE,so i asked dentis if he toof TRICARE'.no : and took towel off and said come back a year. so mr sect go a ahead do your DIRT. I HOPE YOU SEE ALL THESE COMMENTS>

  56. Increases during this screwed up economy. Did we get any cost of living raise, NO. Get lost Gates and any other person that does not support us.

  57. he will get his huge retirement just as congress does for far less than 20 years and without the hint of being in harms way. I too joined when all my friends were being drafted and chose to stay the course and be there for my country. I too was told we would have free health and dental for life, use of px and commissary, etc. we didn't get any cola and so let's now take more away. let's cut the number of generals, SES, and other high ranking folks reduce wasteful spending like the new command at a KY Fort that built a 800K square foot building and equipped it with nice furniture and latest technology.and the electric vehicles that don't get used due to safety and other restrictions and lack of places to plug them in. when I retired, i was drawing roughly 500 per month for housing. my counterpart now is drawing 1500 or more. rent is higher, but it hasn't gone up that much. and what about BRAC. we are spending billions to move units and HQs around to new locations, build new facilities, and spend all the money to PCS both military and civilian workers and guarantee their home sale. but poiliticians don't want to do the right thing.

  58. Alright come on now. There is no reason to say our country sucks and GOD should take it, that's bull shit. I agree that there are problems but no need to criticize our country, yes the politicians, but not our country as a whole. If you do not like this country, get your ass out.

  59. John Phillips | January 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    How about some foreign aid for the veterans?

  60. we need to stand up and LOBBY for what we were promised VOTE these PEOPLE out that vote against us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. steve medori | January 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    Just like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, Sec. Gates "Supports our troops".

    First he surveys those troops on Gays in the military and, guess what, the troops actually fighting in our two wars voted convincingly against Gays in the military despite heavy top down pressure to get it done. Then he and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said, in what I believe is the worst statement in history by senior military leaders to the front line troops: If you don't like it, get out! (paraphrase not a quote)

    Now he wants to solve his DOD budget problem on the backs of veterans. Very cleverly he first makes some token cuts in other programs and then calls for fee increases for veterans. Mr. Gates you can fool some of the people all of the time etc. etc. ….. I do not think you will fool many veterans with this ruse.
    Handle your budget problem some other way or at least retiree to YOUR cost free medical retirement before you do any more damage.

  62. C.W.Bankhead | January 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |

    I entered the Army in 1958 retired 1983 I would try to get a job. But I am 69 years old. I am a little out of date. and so is congress. When I went to viet-nam
    the first time,then the second time I got to the point. It someone else turn.Just
    like now, I think its time congress think about its time to back some of our old bennys and quit helping so many other countrys. The soldiers in this country need help first.

  63. Harry DuBose | January 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    I would like to set up some type of dialogue with Sec. Gates. He recently spoke to DuKe University students but most veterans or retirees were not allowed due to the fact that "DUKES-both faculty and students" were give priority for seating. I'll bet there weren't 50 veterans in the whole crowd admitted. Let's give priority to those that avoided the draft and literally kicked ROTC off the campus. You can fool part of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people the whole time.
    Please Mr. Secretary, tell us of your military service?? Also, we would like to know about your retirement package? What are your benefits and what sacrifices are you making to ensure we balance the budget? We are all waiting!!!

  64. UASF, Retired | January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    The only thing missing from the top of the hill is "Let them eat cake"

  65. ben bradford | January 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |

    Once again our gov punishes those who protect and serve. All the while spending billions if not more on foreign aid. Keep this up and they will have to bring the draft back. Nobody with any common sense would enlist with the current direction the gov is.taking

  66. PART 1
    Here we go again. Now that the last administration involved us in not one but two wars, and removed most of the safeguards that ultimately resulted in the financial crises inherited by the Obama administration, and required a huge bail out for financial institutions and the car companies. Yet it seems that the cost of health care for the military both active and retired must be increased as a cost cutting measure. Yet our elected officials are covered and will never need to want for health care, dental care, or vision care and neither will the detainees at Guantanamo, or any prisoner held in a U. S. prison. These criminals and alleged criminals all get FREE HEALTH CARE.

  67. PART 2
    Here are the facts. Everyone praises the military for the difficult job they have and are doing. They fly the American Flag on their cars and SUVs, they display decals with redirect like “We support our troupes”, but when it comes time to actually support these men and women who served their country honorably it seems everyone wants to turn their backs on them. Let us not forget a lot of the retired men and women are out of work due to the excessive profiteering by large corporations and their cost cutting measures, and their outsourcing of jobs to China and India. The TRICARE insurance earned by these men and women is probably all they can afford, and even the modest amount paid for TRICARE can be a strain on what little income they have coming in.

  68. And Ijust think, you retired for the benefits

  69. I suggest all military retirees forgo "ALL" medical benies so the less fortunate immigrants can receive better care. Hell, everyone knows the military is nothing but a bunch of leeches. Long live Gates and Congress! They know best.

  70. Sgt Kinder USMC Ret | January 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm |


  71. Richard Barry | January 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |

    Gates is a spineless weasel who is trying to build a legacy at the expense of military personnel and retirees. What a waste!!.

  72. This is just like government. They make a promise to keep their children out of harms way, get your service or work out of you and then say tough, we are not going to keep our word.
    If cuts are needed, let it start with the pensions for all the politicians. As far as retirees, my retiree pay was suppose to be connected to active duty pay, thus getting the same pay raises they got. But they stop doing that a long time ago so retiree pay is way behind inflation.
    These politicians (snakes in the grass) use every trick to not give us what was promise and cut every chance they can. Where does the money go? In their pockets and pockets of those whom have not servered and have always had their hand out saying give me. Those that have contributed nothing to this country but help insure the re-election of dirty politicians.

  73. 1stSgt USMC (Rt) | January 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |

    As with many of the posts above, I also was promised "free" health care for life. As they say in football "Cmon Man", just plain stupid, realy STUPID!! Get a grip people, you serve 20 plus years, then make stupid recommendations. C'mon Man!

  74. Can YOU say "Socialism"? The government has already identified the military active/retired as a threat to Homeland security. This is a true statement on their part, don't you doubt it. When I enlisted, part of my enlistment oath was "I promise to protect and defend the Constitution of the the United States against all enemies Foreign and Domestic"… Just in case you good folks haven't figured it out yet, know now that, many individuals currently in office, are doing everything in their power to make this a Socialistic nation. Our President is the biggest offender, and the crap just rolls downhill from there. Signed: USN/retired

  75. This is like the education benefit they promised. During my time in service my position prohibited me from going to school. When I got out after being stoplossed, I went from having a job waiting to no job. My children were of college age, but were considered ineligible for assistance due to my past income and them working. I worked to help them get through school. Once they finished, it was my turn, but my benefits expired, so no school.
    Oh, the job I had to take after getting out paid me less than the going rate for I was retired military. I eventually was let go from that position as quoted by my boss due to my age and race. He encouraged me to sue for this for he wanted to keep me for I was the only one whom had my level of qualification. Also before letting me go it was addited that I was being under paid by over 20 percent and at one time even 50 percent. Note I went to sue, then the government got envolved and said what happened did not matter, I could not sue!

  76. Let us look at civil service pay and pensions. They get paid for moves, cost of selling homes etc… We military members do not. They do not have to move or put themselves in harms way and get pensions far greater than the average military person.
    Add to this that as an additional duty I was assigned the same tasks as the civil service employee, but was given 4 times as much as them. To put in simple, my additional tasking was what was assigned as primary job for 4 civil service employees.
    Cut these people.

  77. The government needs to stop awarding new benefits to those whom have do nothing when they claim they can not affoprd to pay the benefits for those that have worked for them.
    It is amazing how they can give billions in bailouts, forgive loans to people whom bought houses they could never afford, cash for clunkers, etc…. but when it comes to living up to their promises to military retirees they refuse to buck up. Let them try living on the average enlisted retirement pay.
    Maybe it is time for a draft of all the children and grandchildren of politicians and their political appointees and send them to the front line.

  78. Congress wants to give more to illegal immigrants that have cost thios country over a trillion dollars in the last 20 years, but cut the benefits etc… for those whom have servered their country.
    Sounds like more vote buying and welfare, just like the Obama Care bill is a new welfare program for people. Take from the worker and those that serve to give to the parasites of society.

  79. I have to agree with everyone. We have been reduced to nearly nothing in benefits. One commenter said that we are being compared to civilian counterparts. Even civilians make sacrifices. Some civilians (probably a lot) were prior military, retirees (many of them, as I am). Promises, Promises, Promises. I guess when we were told about lifetime benefits, they were all laughing at us out of the side of their mouth as another commenter said. I won't say that every civilian earns their pay, but that is true in the civilian sector as well. Many of us work extra hours without any recognition of it. What happened to NCOA, Sergeant's Association, and the others? Why aren't they stomping their feet up in Washington, letting Secretary Gates know what we think. I truly feel sorry for those politicians who think they can fix things. It's been left alone too long, the pork, taking care of themselves, their cronies, etc. It's time that these issues get fixed before going after the military and civil service employees. The President is wrong when he says we have to do our part.

  80. Michael Frechette | January 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm |

    Going back in time there are examples after examples of the Government making promises and then taking them away. Look at the Bonus Army, search google Hoover administration, General MacArthur, Vets fired on and killed looking for promises..examples go all the way back to 1781 most of the Continental Army was demobilized without pay. I joined the Navy 1973 and retired 1993. I have watch benefits erode. The machine is out of control by being to large. By the way what are we doing in Aghanistan? Didn’t we learn anything with the RUSSIAN/AFGHANISTAN WAR 1978-1989? My son is in the Army. Second tour of Iran and now heading for Aghanistan……..what the heck over. Is this best we can do for our Vets who are in harms way not only overseas but in our own country…..

  81. Sec. Gates has to show that he is doing something for his paycheck, therefore, the best thing to do is to remove those hard earned benefits from our military retirees who deserve the best medical care for their efforts. Hope Congress vetoes his tricare proposals. So, now we have to pay higher co-pays and premiums with a 1.5 cola increase.

  82. Retired_93. I put in 20 years-widowed (cancer) at age 24 a single female in the Air Force. Now, my son that has lost his father and I have gone back to work to help my son that was hurt on the job in Utah…with 4 herniated disks, 3 bulging disks in his neck and told they can't do anything for him as he has a fluid sack in his spine and if disturbed he'd be paralyzed for life….so I work to pay their living expenses. I am not working to put the money into my pockets! Therefore, my point is I can't afford any higher medical fees for myself and it's totally unfair to go back on your word – to provide "reasonable" medical benefits and then to give us Zero cost of living raises for 2 years….don't keep taking away what benefits we worked for – from us that gave our lives for YOU! Shame, shame shame on you!

  83. EMC(sw) T. BEEKS | January 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm |

    Ret.Navy Chief: Whatever happened to when you retire your medical is taken care of for life no cost to the service member . Mr. Sec. correct me if I am wrong all of yours is free ,and you never served one day in the military. I retired with twenty plus years and I am struggling to pay tricare. No cost of living allowance ,co-pays and every dam thing else yes I am pissed can someone tell me what happened please. Because maybe while I was serving my country I just dam missed something. EMC (sw) T. BEEKS

  84. I think this is bull shit, we have servied for 20 pluse yrs and still have to have a job after retireing just to pay the bill, and now to have to pay more med, you suck.

  85. We were all warned of hope and change. this administration is only doing what it said it would do.

  86. How did the gov­ern­ment arrived at this figure $4,202 per ben­e­fi­ciary per year?
    I see my doctor once a year for women's health. It does not cost $4,202.00.
    I would like to see how they came up with that figure. I am 58 years old.

  87. Linda Segura | January 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    How DARE you Mr. Secretary give us crap for our sacrifices and go back on the countrys promise to us!! Do you think that moving our families every 3 to 4 years was for nothing? Compare what you get when you retire to what you have promised us, doesn't even come close!! We will join hands and fight you every step of the way. Back down or you will feel the wrath of retirees and their families, why don't you do something heroic like our men and women of the armed forces and make a sacrifice of your own budget and reallocate it to the retirees so ur country can keep it's promises?

  88. RW (USAF Retired) | January 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    Secretary Gates is at it again to start charging military retirees and active duty more for tricare.
    Secretary Gates Military Service was only for 3 years from 1967 – 1969 as a Second Lieutenant. how did he only spend 3 years in USAF when enlisted had to spend 4 years at minimum. I entered USAF in Jun 1954 and retired Jun 1973 and when I entered they promised medical and dental care for life. The congress took away this benefit that was promised to us retirees. Military Retirees received a letter after they reached age of 65 (when we started receiving medical care, that military hospitals would not furnish medical and dental to them anymore (so much for medical and dental for life). I believe that Secretary Gates needs to resign immediately. I did not see where Secretary Gates gave back any of his 6 figure income. All military retirees did not get their retirement increased now for 2 years, we Retirees have sacrificed all time while in military and now they want us to sacrifice more.


  89. I served for 25 and a half years; cannot afford an increase in fees of any sort. If this happens, I guess I will have to go rob a bank, get put in prison to get free medical and dental care. **** politicians, one of these days their very exsistence is going to be in the hands of the people….and I think we should vote on their benefits and retirements. They should not receive any retirement or benefits unless they serve at least 12 yrs and their pay raises are based upon an evaluation by the people they represent!!!

  90. Madrid, CWO Ret | January 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

    I go along with putting all of the politicians on the same plan that we have to live with. Including the appointed service secretaries and any other political strap hanger. That way maybe they would appreciate what we have to live with and that all we ask for is that which was promised use.

  91. another way of cutting the vets retainer pay for serving and sacrificing for their country! What about all the broken promises that were made to those who served during Vietnam? Cut government spending, stop allowing the ILLEGAL immigrants to get any funding simply because they are here and start kicking these F&^%$#$ brainless politicians to the curb! BTW–fact, less than 3% of the ENTIRE United States population is a disabled or retired veteran so them saying TRICARE is costing too much money is pure BS—we spend more on single mother w hore s (sorry b itch es, you have the choice on saying NO and using protection when it comes to sex) on welfare and illegal immigrants than on TRICARE!!

  92. Being a politician is a privilege and is supposed to be done so FREELY for the people to serve the people not yourselves..this means no one in Congress should be paid….wait who am I kidding….lets just ignore EVERY part of the Constitution and allow more idiot politicians like Patricia Schroeder (USFSPA) to keep chopping away at our military retainer pay and giving our spouses who did not suffer a day during our dedicated service half of that simply for the fact they were married to us for 10 years of our service! I hope the all idiotic, moronic, hare-brained liberals wake up and realize that their socialistic communism is ruining this once great country!!! Signed a PO'd vet who has been unemployed for 3 plus years and is barely able to survive thanks to his greedy ex-spouse who has no need to collect the USFSPA other than for spite!

  93. Mr. Gates,
    I'm being layed off for the third time in 5 years because of this wonderful economy we have now. Tricare is the only real bargain my family and I have left in life. I guess people like us should just move to Canada or something. I gave 150% while on active duty. Now you want to take more out of my pocket when there is not much more than a ball of lint. Thanks for the help.

  94. Time for Congress to get the same pay and benefits as the military. They love to refer to it as serving in Congress, well time for them to see what service really means. One congressman gets shot and they start talking about bodyguards and security protection for all of them. Not a word about the 8000+ men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan or the thousands horribly wounded. Time for them to assume the risk when they raise that hand. This nonsense that they are "special" has got to come to a screeching halt. It is past time for a reality check for these servants of the people.

  95. well I know for a fact that they don't spend 4000.00 on our family of 5 and don't even come close to spending 4000.00 per person. We rarely go to the doctor and when we do we use our other insurance provided by work.. The only reason we keep tricare is it covers our 20.00 copay which is all they pay and for the pharmacy which we may get 8 prescriptions a year and that is estimating high. It also isn't true that rates haven't changed since champus because we have had it increased in the past 7 years. First of all when hubby joined the army 27 years ago he was told medical insurance would be free the rest of his life and then he retires and has to pay. Not to mention the surviving spouse benefits he is paying for that he isn't allowed to stop because he didn't stop it within 3 years of retiring so we are stuck with that payment for a benefit that we don't need because his current job has a really good retirement plan that will end up paying more and probably won't even qualify to receive anything from the SBP even though we paid into it all these years.
    If this increase is as high as they are proposing, I doubt we will even keep the tricare medical. First of all it's hard to find doctors that even accept tricare

  96. I joined in 1977 and was promised if I did 20 years I would get free health care for life. I did that and then was told no now you will have to pay for part of your health care, ok but why dose it keep coming up every year when they try to balince the budget they say that retireies are not paying their fair share. how much more of our fair share do we have to pay. Some of us gave up everything to serve and didn't ask for anything in return. We just want what was promised us.

    I was in the Guard for 20+ years – but I was AGR so I earned my AD Retirement Benefits. Why is it they pay super low premiums now to cover them and their dependents even when they are not serving on AD. Once their AD is over TRICARE SHOULD STOP until reactivated – PERIOD!!!! If the service member is declaired a Vet – the VA takes care of them for 5 years from the date they are released – that is a great benefit – thet don't need and should not be using our TRICARE PROGRAM at all at that point. Sorry but when you add thousands upon thousands to the roles costs go up. Now you want those who are serving or completed their FULL contract to pay more on the backend as well.
    This has got to stop. That is the primary reason TRICARE Costs have gone up!!! Retirees using more TRICARE than you expected is not the reason – you promised us TRICARE and TRICARE for life – you never told us if we were still able to work you were going to charge us more for healthcare once we retired – so what retiree out there planned for this expense over the past 20 years of life planning – hmm my guess is very few.

  98. NavyLDO-Officer | January 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm |

    This country started by way of a Revolution to get rid of the government they did not respect…………….Maybe it is time to re visit the past.

  99. This country is going to hell in a hand basket because the government have there heads so far up there ass they can not seee.

  100. all i can say its a big slap in the face to all those who served….. Thanks Mr. Gates

  101. Allen Young, MSgt | January 11, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    Secretary Gates, You make me sick to my gut. I served during the last part of WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars, spent my time living in tents in unfavorable circumstances while you and congressmen live like Kings. We were promised free medical since WWII and did not receive decent Medical until Pres Clinton got it thru while he was in office, You plan to cut all of us ex GI's out after we sacrificed for the country we love but you nor the Congress folks are willing to sacrifice anything! Allen Young, M/Sgt Ret

  102. Kevin-Renee DeVerell | January 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm |

    Just add this to the Post 911 GI bill. Cut off from Ret after 99. Don't they know that some of us do have college age children? Hillary saw to it that we lost our free medical and dental for life. I can't afford the dental from Tri Care and have a civilian provider and it covers very little for the cost. Gates better rethink his his plans or he will have many showing him no respect. He doesn't understand the vet.

  103. I would ask, where is the DAV and other Veteran support groups/lobbyists. Why aren't they on Capitol Hill raising !@#$ with Gates and others who are continuously robbing veterans of the benefits they have earned? Or is it just that they collect money for their little self congratulatory magazines and see how much they can sell you? Withholding benefits with a cavalier attitude as demonstrated by Gates is typical of the government when they are finished with the cannon fodder. Beware potential enlistees.

  104. If the government really wants to improve the budget, they need to look at all the benefits THEY are receiving. They, being Congress, Senate and the Administration, ( ex: DoD Gates). It's disgusting to think that a congressman can serve one term and get full retirement benefits the rest of his/her life. A veteran has to be active for 20 years before he/she can receive benefits. A reservist has to wait until they're 60, and only if they have enough years in.

  105. Leave our tricare fees alone.

  106. i joined the army in 57 and when i retired i had 29 years in the army and congress keeps cutting tricare benefits. the way they are doing no service member will able to find a doctor as they will be rejucted health care. those men and women who served in the armed services are getting screwed while the senate keeps raising their pay and screwing the people who defend our country that just goes to show you what the military means to them. they are safe and not getting killed or getting one of their limbs torn off and they show their appreciaation by cutting military benefits. why don''t they go out and put their lives on the line and then see if they would cut their benefits like they want to cut our benefits that just goes to show you how much they appreciate us when we put our lives at stake to protect them and the rest of the usa.

  107. This will not be popular but sometimes the truth hurts. 1) The article is somewhat misleading in that Gates may have "con­tin­u­ously sought TRICARE fee increases for retirees" but while the writer makes it seem like he has been in this job for many years, he has only been there for a couple of years. 2) He apparently is seeking increases NOT for us 65+ but "working age" retires, whatever that means. (If you retire at a young age, looks like you will need your own money under Obamacare.) 3) The handwriting is on the wall about health care costs and unfortunately the military will not escape. We do have a very strong lobby so I expect we can still fare better than those who never served. 4) Beg to differ but members of Congress do not get free or cheap health insurance while serving and do not get free health care when they hang it up. While serving they get a good price on standard Federal spec health insurance. (I believe, however, they get access to free clinics at the capitol and I am certain are treated well at Walter Read!)

  108. I'm just wondering why they all up there on capitol hill vote themselves a pay increase, then tell us that cost of living hasn't gone up, so we don't get one. Now they want to increase our tricare fees? How is that fair again?? Is this 'change' making anyone happy??

  109. David R. Munselle | January 12, 2011 at 3:22 am |

    Doesn't anyone remember the Clinton Administration? This cutting of the Military was initiated by that regime. Many of the current administration were brought from the Clinton bunch of criminals to "pay" for Clinton's support in the election. Just remember "reduce the military, revise the constitution, gun control, and much of the socialist philosophy" was started during the 8 years of Clinton.

  110. Vernette Godfrey | January 12, 2011 at 3:39 am |

    My husband joined the Army in 1939. We did have free care until Fort Ord Hospital was closed. He did his 20 plus years. He was stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1939 and spent 15 yrs there and from there, Korea, Guam, Japan and last served os in Germany. Every thing is being taken from us. Why??

  111. Michael Trotter | January 12, 2011 at 6:44 am |

    I am retired US Army/Navy. I enlisted in the Army in 67 and served two tours in Vietnam. I am not usually one to complain, however this is just ridiculous! I have a solution for Secretary Gates…..cut spending for free medical services for illegal aliens! There, that should just about cover it!

  112. Enter text right here!MR Gates is a selfish piece of shit like the rest of the worth ass he work's for in the Pentegon. take your sorry ass a pay cut or better than that go into the trenches with a private or sgt and see what the service is and how u get shit on to make a dollar. what about disable retiree's who cant work.. i guess you dont give a damn MR albert Stovall a proud and disabled retiree

  113. "Rumsfeld admitted to $2.3 trillion missing on September 10, 2001." Congress and our leaders have continually allocated and lost track of trillions of money. Most likely to line or fund someones secret hidden agenda. Theres no way we should let them make cuts without accounting for every dollar they suposedly spend.

  114. we need to finish removing the rest of dems and rep in 2012 and also get the whitehouse personal and we all know who is that and then replaces all of them with military vets and we should nerver ,never have a commander and chief that has never served in the military .

  115. Served 21 years, and proud but everyday alittle less proud of this Country. Here goes alittle more pride for such a thing to be considered.

  116. appear to discriminate against veterans of working age. Veterans that has exceeded working age will transition to medicare anyway. If the secretary insist on increasing tricare, he need to make provision for veterans to secure jobs. The increase will eventually lead to more public health problems r/t inaccessibility and increased finance cost.

  117. The DOD already have a third party recovery plan for personnel with insurance aside from tricare. It is a matter of enforcement of that policy. Mr Gate effort is redundant or maliciously intended. The third party program implemented at the unit and clinc level is intended to recover repeated expenditures by dod on veterans and retirees with outside insurance policy. Mr. Gates needs to touch base with units (Third Party Collection) on the ground and make sure that ar executing efficiently and effectively before asking for more money. If not, this issue is management not funding

  118. Having spent over 7 of my 20 yrs on active duty at the Pentagon I can tell you that the DoD budget is as much about funneling cash to congressional districts as it is about providing for the national defense. Every time we tried to kill a program that was over-budget and under-performing, some congressman would save it in the DoD appropriation because it impacted his or her district. BRAC is a joke. We spent tens of thousands of hours doing analysis on how to save money only to have good ideas killed because they impacted certain congressman's districts and that would be a problem. The DoD is now like a business with a huge board of directors (Congress). So any real savings (program cuts, better organization, etc.) will never happen. Instead they will nickel and dime changes that in the end result in nothing. Ultimately the budget deficit will force a flat X% reduction to all budgets because nobody has the guts to make the hard decisions. And yes, our Tricare fees will go up because it is just a line item in the budget.

  119. I understand there have been no adjustments to the Tricare fees for some time. There also have been no COLA raises to our retirement for the past 2 years and next year is doubtful at best, yet Gates wants to raise fees and take more of our retirement away. We already are losing some of our retirement from the civilian sector when they raise fees and prices for one thing or another even in the current state of this economy. If Tricare fees are to be raised they should be limited to no more than COLA plus another 1% max. Over time they will increase at a slow steady pace without adversely affecting the military retiree.

  120. Trying to cut benefits for veterans again, nothing new. The promises made all depend on whether they are "needing you or just feeding you" as it's always been. I've seen a lot of promises broken just since the Viet Nam war. Now, I stand to lose the one thing that at this time in life I need the most, health care. When the elections come around again, you best believe I won't forget forget, Gates my not be elected but his boss is!!! Hope everyone else remembers what is going on too.

  121. For retirees, no cost of living raise for the next two years but we are going to raise your TRICARE costs. Yea ain't that sweet. Cut the active duty allowances and so on. Yeah stick to the miltary – active and retired. Gates is a POS.

  122. If this country stopped giving so much hard earned tax payer dollars to foreign countries, the country would be able to take care of it's own and have cash let over!

  123. Thanks a lot Mr Secretary. Its amazing how things have change since I served in the Navy and retired and the majority of the Congress and the people that has never served in anything that are drawing large checks and getting free medical just for making promises. No Cola's for two years,
    but congress and staff are getting theirs. Congratulations!!!!

    J.S. , RET, CPO

  124. I wonder who creates the charts indicating that the military has the largest cut of the pie. Seems to me that an everyday housewife could do a much better job of budgeting than our representives. We DO know where and how our money needs to be spent . Saving a dying business with our tax money was a waste, Sending OUR tax money to countries that could be used to take care of our own was wasted. And now bleeding the veteran for more money , isn't it enough that they cannot keep the lifetime benefits promise.


  126. How can a Medical Supplement (ie Tricare for Life) cost more per year than full insurance (Tricare Standard) "# TRICARE Stan­dard, the program’s fee-for-service plan, costs $3,584 per ben­e­fi­ciary per year.
    # TRICARE for Life, for ben­e­fi­cia­ries age 65 and older, costs the gov­ern­ment $3,874 per patient per year."?

  127. As Vietnam combat veteran with no luck at all this is not going over to well. I was wounded in Dec 68 due to a well placed VC mine. I still have enough shrapnel in me that they won't do CT scans because the stuff could tear something open. I also have cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange, what were the odds of that. I live to far from a VA Hospital for care so I use TRICARE. The last thing I need is higher premiums. Gates needs to remember we veterans took risks that civilians would never do that is why we get medical help.

  128. Mr Obama, you profess to care deeply about those serving on active duty and their families. Now is the time to prove it. I have been retired for 24 years and I feel that my spouse and I have been let down (again). It is time for all of you who have never served in the military to quit fucking with us. We did our duty and now we have to listen to a bunch of none sreving assholes try to take away what we have left. Leave us alone and quit pissing away money on usless shit just get yourselves reelected.

  129. Oh WTH…. Gas prices are up so Why not. We're boned again!!! They're all Jerks. Don't see them fighting for FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY!!!! I hope Mr Gates reconsiders what he's trying to make happen and leaves TRICARE alone… We'll be Socialistic before to long…

  130. Jerry Kimbro | January 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    THEY ARE GOING TO STEAL OUR BENEFITS-ONE AT A TIME, so they can take care of themselves! Does anyone else feel sorry for those Marines that have to salute Osama, er , I mean Obama? 1SG Ret.

  131. Hope your happy mr.gates. After 20 years of honorable and exemplaray service this is the thanks i get.just remember”what goes around comes around”
    1sg/ret scheffer

  132. As a retired Marine with over 20 years in, I feel the pain as everyone else. We can all complain in this type of forum, but that doesn't solve the problem. If all of us write, call, e-mail our outrage to our congressmen and senators as a group and to the military organizations (VFW, etc.) maybe something will get done. Don't just sit at your computer and gripe about it, DO SOMETHING! Flood congress with your concern and see what happens. Maybe the VFW or American Legion can organize a march on Washington. I'd be there! We have the power, so let's use it!

  133. what are these idiots doing so much for 20 years WTFO ?

  134. There was no pay raise for congress this year, or last year. In March 2009 after Obama took office, congress voted via Public Law 111-8, the Omnibus Appropriation Act to suspend their pay raise for 2010, and Obama signed it on March 11th. Via H.R. 5146, the House voted 402 to 15 on April 27 2010 to suspend the pay raise again for 2011. It was passed by unanimous Senate vote the next day and Obama signed it on May 11th. Additionally, military pay cannot be "cut". Federal law pegs pay to the Employment Cost Index. It's the reason the raise is so small this year, and why Bush voted down the 3.5% increase his last year in office, because the EIC only required the raise to be 3%. Now you know.

  135. I am a retired Army veteran,with over 20 years of service.When I enlisted into the U.S. Army,I was promised if I served 20 years or more of service,my family and I would have free medica for life.I kept my contract with the U.S. government,but they have’t kept their promise to me.I am very disgusted with our congress,or government.

  136. Frank Pernau | January 13, 2011 at 7:44 am |


    I do have trouble to survive with my little retirement pay, now will be less?
    I suppose I will need to die soon!

  137. MilitaryBetrayed | January 13, 2011 at 8:37 am |

    Former military spouses that were "married" to a service member for 20 years get to keep their benefits for life. Now, DoD can't afford it so they cut the benefits of those that served. Cut the benefits of the former spouses first including repeal of the antiquated unconstitutional Former Spouse Protection Act.

  138. As usual the men and women in uniform suffer in the hands who have never sprnt a day in uniform.

  139. Linnes Chester | January 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

    As a recently retired Air Force medic, I fully support raisingTRICARE fees. We all must do our part to keep our medical services viable. Giving up a small portion of discretionary income will pay long term dividends. The increases being recommended amount to little more than a few cups of coffee or soda a week. Also consider how many of us have expensive cable services that we use to watch only a few channels. If we can invest in what brings us short-term joy, we should be willing to support what brings us long-term health.

    To those who believe this is unfolding because of President Obama, please review your history. It also was proposed by his predecessor, President Bush.

  140. Dusted Eagle | January 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    Illegal aliens receive $40,000 per year in Food Stamps and Section 8 FREE Housing. And, our govrernment can’t afford to pay its soldier’s health care costs of 1/10th of that. I say to everybody in the military this instant, DO NOT REUP and to anyone considering joining, DON’T DO IT! Now do a story about those vets who are dying of cancer, and why the VA will not compensate them for being poisoned while in Korea and Vietnam, by their own government! I have been waiting almost 3.5 years for my compensation, have lost my home and become destitute, yet, the VA has been right-on-the-spot to dump 10’s of thousands of dollars of medical bills on-top of me DEMANDING that I pay up, else! Or else what? Take the clothes off of my back?

  141. Patrick Hart | January 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    i agree with the Secty of Def. We had it very good while the budget continues to go way overboard. A modest increase for great coverage is in order. A sane proposal indeed.

  142. I have been retired for 8 years now, after 20+ years of active service. I joined on a promise from the government that they would take care of me and my family. I am currently a student at the age of 46, under the Chap. 31 (V, R & E). I have held 4 civilian jobs in those eight years and endured plant closings, lay offs and position disintegration. Those who have never served no nothing about leadership, management or planning. Mr. Gates is wanting to support President Obamas medical plan by sacrificing this nations veterans promises. I kept TRICARE Prime because the job market medical plans are to expensive, and the job market was collapsing. If Washington continues to withdraw its promises, and sacrifice its nations warriors then the politicians need to "trice up" and fall in for watch detail, because the volunteers will not be there. Freedom is not free…

  143. I have a short comment I read on another board for Mr. Gates. If they keep cutting veterans benefits in years to come there will be no veterans unless they bring the draft back. Our volunteer military will cease to be. Can you blame these troops, promised something to get a signature on the line and then slowly take the benefits away when they reach the age of retirement. I
    have a question Mr. Gates, Could you live on what most retirees get today?
    Give it some thought Mr. Gates.

  144. I think everyone here is justifiably pissed, however I didn't read anything in the article that states this will happen. It didn't say that it was done. It just said Gates "is seeking," "considering," and words of that nature. Our country is in such a financial funk, however, EVERYTHING needs to be cut. We are beyond the point of picking and choosing what to cut in the nation's budget. I agree that the wages and benefits of those in Congress and Senate should be the first on the chopping block.

  145. All these Secretary appointees, and, congressional politicians get better medical than veterans, and, not to mention the active duty personnel. Walter Reed, Bethesda, John Hopkins, or anywhere else they are at the time. Must be nice.
    Plus with all of this Congress wants to save money which they do need so they can them get a pay raise. This pay happen each year.

  146. Bill Chapman | January 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm |

    This is a typical ploy or robbing Paul to pay Peter…All of us who served in the Armed Services deserve what was promised to us…Now the government expects us to lie down and die, after all that is what we are suppose to do right…I must be missing something here…There is another Boston Tea Party coming and the government better wake up…This one is going to be messy….

  147. D.L. Pompili | January 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    MacNamara,Rumsfeld, now Gates…… are they related ???

  148. James Gates | January 13, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    Lets make sure we honor the promises we made to all the people around the world, except for our own veterans.

  149. I say all of us Vets make a stand do a March on the Pentagon or the White House. Proftest our dislike of the way they treat us that have served to protect this country. It's time to get the real Americans that love this country and protest the current administration. Peacefully of course I wll go have another cup of TEA.

  150. I would like to see no one join the military for at least 6 months or longer because all I see is the so call brass lie from the head dog all the way down. I would have gotten a better deal if I did not go in. The VA is no better if not worst

  151. Seems everytime cuts need to be made its always the little guy that gets in the A@@ US Vets we served this nation honorably now its time that our Govt to keep its promised to all Vets Retired and Active duty alike

  152. You can bet that any time the government gives the military or retired military anything, they find 100 ways to take it back or more.

    It's fair because he is a dirty corrupt politician who is getting filthy rich.

    People wonder why the shooting happened in Arizona, I have seen it coming for a long time. Politicians long ago lost touch with the citizens of this country who elect them and pay their salaries, catering to big business and getting filthy rich.

    You can bet that any time the government gives the military or retired military anything, they find 100 ways to take it back or more. It's fair because he is a dirty corrupt politician who is getting filthy rich.
    People wonder why the shooting happened in Arizona, I have seen it coming for a long time. Politicians long ago lost touch with the citizens of this country who elect them and pay their salaries, catering to big business and getting filthy rich.
    I hate it for the lady, I really do, but if politicians don't open their eyes and start listening to the citizens of this country, and start doing what they were elected to do, it will only get worse!

  153. jimmymishoe | January 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    this gov is corrupt tell congress and senators we have had it 2012-2014 oust all need to take care of our military and veterans to much corruption all their days are numbered jimmy the sniper

  154. This whole country is so corrupt it's unbelievable. If the tax payers only knew how much tax money is stolen, each year, money wasted, about the dirty corrupt government contracts being handed out left and right to their friends and relatives, it would make them faint! The sad part is the politicians have their hands right in the middle of it.
    If we really wanted to save tax money we would start with our corrupt government and clean it up first!
    The end result is going to be a revolution to over throw the government of this country just like you see in other countries. After these dirty money hungry politicians have treated the military the way they have, lied to us, cut benefits and retirement, who will protect them when the revolution starts?

  155. Dear Mr. Gates;

    Frankly I am glad I am out of the military after serving for 35 years. I feel like a divorcee that was cheated; as a reservist serving in two wars and more deployments then I can count (my wife does that better) I was promised certain things when I reached 60, and could retire. Now at 62 when no one wants an old soldier, I am living on those investments I made when I was younger. And the medical I was promised is slipping away. You talk about increasing payments for TriCare? How does one pay for that? You on the other hand will have plenty… I didn't expect a free ride but I did expect what I was promised?

  156. Ever since I joined in 77, I had been told hey stay in for 20 years and you get free medical and dental for life. Slowly what benefits I looked forward to when I retired 5 years ago are almost non-existent. I ask those in congress and the house to take a major wage cut to help dig us out since the government and the greedy corporate fools got us into this mess. Why should we continue to have to suffer? Quality of life as we knew it is gone. Vets are homeless and jobless yet we seem to be giving what money we do not have to other countries. Where the hell is taking care of us first? We are suppose to sacrafice for what? Our rights are being taken away. Food shortages (lie), high gas prices, and we are spiraling out of control. But yet middle and lower class will continue to sacrafice while the rich elites get richer…And..the free speech you enjoy on the Internet is going away…

  157. So if Obama and the other idiots running this country are seriously trying to make health care afforadable for everyone, how stupid is it to raise the rates and copays for retired military?

    Politicians just passed the Kennedy Bill that exempts them from the National Health Care Bill.

    Being an elected official was never intended to be a get rich quick scheme and make those elected exempt from the same laws and rules we are to abide by.

    All politicians should be on the same health care plan as retired military, have the exact same retirement plan, and have to actually pay for it like we do!

  158. Don’t worry, the governmemnt is oging to dig us out of this mess.

    As we speak Obama and the other greedy corrupt politicians are working on a plan to seize your 410K and other retirement funds to squander that money too!

  159. To those serving now, Thank you….but be aware that we older retirees were promised free health and dental for life if we'd put our lives on the line for 20 years. Guess what…….they are a bunch of liars! There should be no question about that promise…it was made and it should be kept!
    My advise—-don't reup because THEY don't mean to keep what they promise. In fact…don't join….. because the only people that count in this country are the politicans and their lackys.

  160. So much for my free health care I was promised in 1971. After 30 years and VA approved disabilities I have, and our own leadership wants to raise our Tricare. That is pure BS. We will have to again fight this tooth and nail so that the fees do not raise…

  161. The cost of healthcare is not a luxury, but repair to the bodies of Patriotic citizens that believed we were helping a altruist effort. Reality was means for bankers and contractors to legally get a hold of tax payers funds. Recommend Mr. Gates first cuts the contracts he awards in afganishtan and iraq and project grants that end in the pockets of contractors and LNs that never perform the work. That end being performed by Soldiers to make mission.

  162. I just have to add my 2 cents: Cent #1: The respected gentleman who stated that we should "just count our blessings," needs to buck-up and support what the majority of us are stating…that the government should honor their commitment to pay for our health care for life. No questions asked…make it happen. Cent #2: From my overall experience both in the military and out, I would never have thought that we would have to fight Communism, Liberals, and our own Secretary of Defense.

  163. Well then it might be that they need to give us the cost living increases to match the inflation rates

  164. Sick Veteran` | January 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    what else are we going to lose? we served our country and have earned every thing we got coming to us, you Mr. Gates sit there thinking about how to screw the retired serviceman by taking away our COLA, now Tri-Care you are thinking about increasing. Remember, we senior enlisted peoople who spent 26 years in service (Korea-Vietnam) etc. no one asked us if we had a choice during the war years. We went, served honorably, now as aged retired military members, we can barely make it, because our economy, taxes, and all are just killing us. I have cancer, and I am 76 years old, only have a few years left, but don't screw us anymore, leave Tri-Care alone.

  165. lovingdaughter | January 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm |

    Mr. Secretary, What happens if the US gets attacked again and you have cut personnel in the Forces which GUARD this nation… including YOU? How about you propose to cut the salaries of Congress or your own instead of medical care for retirees, like my father and grandfather, or cutting troops? Dumb

  166. Gates and Obama have done in two years what no nation has ever been able to do to the U.S. military – with the stroke of their pens, they have devastated the moral and trust of this country's service members. What's next Mr. Gates, having the amputees pay for their own prosthetic appliances?

  167. This is sad. Retirees were promised so much but don't see half of their benefits. They are charged for everything that was promised to them as free. My chain of command wonders why I wanted to get out a few years ago. Mainly because of this. I probably won't get the check or worst. They argued that I would get a retirment check for the rest of my life if I serve 20 yrs. I argue "what's the point when I have to turn around and pay it back to the government". I have served in 3 wars and dread retiring only to be faced with this type of situation. It's wrong to rob vets that have served their country unselfishly. Shame on you Sec Gates!

  168. This is so true. This is the primary reason that I wanted to get out. They are taking advantage of people that want to a serve their country. They fail to realize that we have a life outside of the military that requires money. Since it is our primary job then we should get paid. Enough with the cuts to COLA and housing allowances. No more fee increases to retiree healthcare. It is unfair and puts military lives in jeopardy. I've learned that I cannot rely on the government.

  169. Same old crap. Veterans are no better off then a common wino or a street bum. Look Mr. Gates I served this country and the State of Wisconsin as an active member of the U.S.Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard for a combined total of well over 23 years. And what do I get for it? I have been made homeless in 1979 when I lost my high paying job on the Milwaukee Police Department because they had to hire minorities and women so that us Viet-nam era veterans could live on the street like dogs. I have been thrown into jail because my former bosses did not know what to do with me! We were promised so much and it is just crap. When I hear of a murder in Miwaukee or maybe mass murders in Tuscon, Az.. I say good . Thats what you ass-holes wanted and now that is what you get. I have no pity on any one anymore. Take our benefits from those of us who served so long ago and give them to the pedophilla priests or maybe the (sic) Catholic Church who are the biggest liars since Judas him-self. I would serve the Devil Lucifer himself because he probably would get me my benefits sooner then the the DOD. God Bless America? Give me a break, you whores!!

  170. Why am I not surprised…after spending 22 of the best years of my life serving in USAF I retired beat up and broken and now drawing disability and here comes another left leaning coital phallus head of a politician thinking that making me poorer is going to solve the GUBERMENTS inability to balance a checkbook…

    And you wonder why people snap and do terrible things…

  171. With new steep troop cuts, I foresee another steep rise in the suicide rate. Maintainers are already stretched too thin, the jets are too old and the sortie rate keeps getting increased as the FMC rate decreases due to lack of manpower and old equipment. Cut some more troops, see more airmen lose it and commit suicide. We have seen it at 2 bases over the last 10 years. It is going to happen again, in 2015, if not sooner, if Gates has his way. Gates needs to understand that an undermanned American military is a weak, tired, under-prepared, disgruntled military. We are going to be pulled into another conflict. The question is when and where, and what is going to happen when we need a stronger military to react? More IRR's? More National Guard? Stop-loss? Oh, SecDef's have already been there, done that because we didn't have a big enough military to handle Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time. The military has been "trimmed" since Clinton, through Bush and is now being hacked with a cleaver under Obama's SecDef. 3 Presidents and their SecDef's to be blamed when America doesn't have the military might to respond to our next threat. Our military should be hiring, not firing.

  172. Simple, vote against everyone in Congress who supports this action and talk it up so others vote them out of office.

  173. Enter text right here!The current TRICARE enrollment fee was set in 1995 at $460 a year for the basic family plan and has not been raised since," Gates told reporters. "During this time, insurance premiums paid by the private sector and other government workers have risen dramatically. For example, the fees for a comparable health insurance program for federal workers cost roughly $5,000 per year."
    As the daughter of a retired WWI vet, the sister of a Korean Vet, wife of a Korean vet and a 20 yr retiree with 2 tours in Vietnam, what makes them more valuable than us? I will be the first to admit I didn't suffer the hardships the men did (I was a CW3 Admin/Finance) but I think we have all learned that we were just a number and meant nothing to our government.

  174. THE LOCAL MINNEAPOLIS NEWSPAPER RAN FRONT PAGE ARTICLES ON TWO DAYS – "Biggest Military Pay Cut Since 9-11", the other article read – "Medicare for POOR expands today. Isn't it wonderful how the congress shows their appreciation for our service. BS BS BS BS BS BS

  175. its weird how the govt will spend money to help everyone, over spend then start taking money from the military. Does this mean we can sue the govt for lying to us for enlisting? they also compare mil vs civ except for pay. civ working the same job are making 60k or more a year. they don't talk about that. another case of the govt making promises and not living up to them. they already stole from social security and never paid it back so now they don't want to pay anymore. i bet that they will find money for some wasteful program and use our benefits to pay for it.

  176. If they were to take it out on a percentage basis starting with Obama and congress on what you make think of how much money there would be

  177. 24 years 100% combat dis vet thanks just thanks,now when one of us vets flys off HOOK and starts killing a bunch in the head shead,they will say he lost his mind, has he or is he feed up with the B,S,

  178. No Fee increases since '95? Is he on 'ludes? Our co-pays have risen from $3 to $12 in less than 3 years. That might be chump change, unless you're like me in a situ where you're in physical therapy, and each visit of 3-4 a week costs $12. That starts adding up to real money after a couple months…

  179. just cause i am of working age and retired from the military and on SSID i am going to get screwed by gates and the big brass in congress? why do they always want to screw the retired military persons.
    i remember 37 years ago at the meps and the speech they gave ie., the military and the VA will take care of you for the rest of your life either ETSed or retired. hmm, another lie!!! cant get the VA to do anything and then i must use my tri-care and they are going to raise the rates. come-on washington, take my old retired butt back. i’ll go overseas, cant hear, cant walk, cant see like if i was 18, and i sure wont be able to jump again, but you give me a weapon and my old retired age body will eat mre’s and be standing tall in the formation. what do you got to say about that Mr. gates?

  180. Donald Ramsey | January 13, 2011 at 10:24 pm |

    Last year retirees did not get a pay raise, nor did Social
    Security recipients, yet the federal Government got a 2
    Percent pay raise. The elderly who so desperatly depend
    On what little they get for a life time of paying or sacrificing
    Are the ones that are first to be sacrificed. How can you
    Mr. Gates Sleep at night knowing that you could actually
    Be tendering to many honorable peoples deaths. Many
    Are already an the brink of being homeless and
    Starvation. Now your adding to their cost by increasing tri-
    Care cost. You are pushing them over the edge. You
    Should be ashamed of yourself, you are a true failure
    To your position.

  181. Do you feel like a native american ,signed papers and broken promises.

  182. USN Retire , what the hell is Mr. Gate thinking? or is he not thinking !
    Mr. gate get rid of all the pork and cut some of your benefits and take a good look at the big picture. put your self in our place.

  183. Retired Veteran | January 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    First gays, now TRICARE. Get Gates out before he complete destroys the military.

  184. Retired Veteran | January 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

    First Gays, now TRICARE get Gates out before he completely destroys the military. This Administration has got to go!!!

  185. hopalongokie | January 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    I hope that all those thinking of making the military a career pay attention to this and act by exiting as quickly as possible. They might as well be on welfare…at least there they will have free medical care without the sacrifice.

  186. How about cutting back on benefits, travel, pay, postage, dining, gas, 2nd homes, medical, and cost of living, starting with the President and family, the Administration, Congress, All Gererals, Clinton, Gates, Mullen, Reed , Banner, Poloski and everyone in Washington making over 100,000 thousand a Year. Bet you would save a Trillion a year.

  187. All this cost raising is crazy, I am a widow, Trying to go back to school was denied money for school because they said it was over the 10 year limit whicih I was unaware of. I don’t live near a base so i have to pay for my meds and finding a doctor that will take my insurance is ****. I donot get money for my child on my pension because she is my grandchild and we had not adopted her we just had custody of her when my husband died. this sucks…..

  188. Not to come down on the shooting in Tucson, but all the medical that has been done on the congresswomen is great. Also all the money to have Air Force one fly in with all the other politicians, great support. I wonder where all that money came from to do this? If they were to take all the money for that one trip, with all the security that was done. It probably we be close to paying all the money they want the retires to pay for medical cost.

  189. Gil Jennings | January 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    I'm mad as hell at how we the retirees and veterans keep having to take in in the rear, being lied to, and having been lied to for decades. There is a solution however, hundereds of thousands of mistrteated retirees equal hundreds of thousands of votes. We've known that for a long time but we put the same thieves back in power, then we sit around and complain when they shove it in a little deeper. They know suckers when the see them. Since I can't throw the bums out by myself, I'll have to wait and read your gripes for the next few years until the've shoved in enough to get rid of me.

  190. Mike La Bonne | January 13, 2011 at 11:43 pm |

    What's the price of freedom active and retired military bought for you with their sacrifices, and too often, their lives?

  191. EMCS(SS) BARCLAY | January 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm |

    Bill, you ignorant mother ******, how can you have the audacity to raise the health care costs for those of us that can least afford it? I was told that if I served my country my family and I would be provided with health care for the rest of my life. I honored my contract, how can you ******** in Washington pretend you don’t remember? I’m ****** off you son of a ***** and I don’t want your **** budget woes. Honor your God **** vets. You are supposed to represent us, you back stabbing *******.

  192. Sec of Defense, could care less about the military retirees, but ya never see any benefit cuts to ex congressmen and women and sec of defense cutting his free medical costs to taxpayer, retired military..I think it should be a requirement for all congressional and secretaries, have at least 10 years of military service, with more thanhalf of that in a war zone.

  193. these people in Washington do not care about all the Military now and retired they are just pawns in there little games. These people will get the same pay and benfits as they do now for the rest of their lives,that is why they are not affarid of cuts.Just get the poor SOBS.who done there work for them,the ones who were and still are proud to serve and protect our great UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.I to have served 22 years in the ARMY.WOO RAAA SFC RETIRED

  194. Anybody who blames dealing with the realities of America's cash flow on this Administration way better turn their checkbook over to their spouse.

    'Twas the Republicans who deliberately mismanaged and so extended one war even as they falsified justifications for starting another war – all AFTER they had cut their taxes yet again.

    Wars ain't cheap…when the Republicans did that, they knew that somebody would have to pay the piper.

    Look at it this way: This helps ease us veterans into the next inevitable Republican move: Attempting to either cut veterans or Social Security/Medicare recipients off cold – or both.

  195. I am a medical biller and a Tricare beneficiary and I can tell you how the gov't can save money. My daughter was prescribed a nebulizer for bronchitis. After it was delivered to my home I was told I had to pay around $20 for my percentage. So I did. Then I get a bill for an additional $15 after Tricare paid. Tricare allowed $219 for the nebulizer, which I later found out I could have purchased myself for around $35. So in this case I paid $35 and they got the additional money from Tricare. Maybe the gov't should stop overpaying for s**t, and give us the care we need. I can't even get an appointment to see my family MD when I'm sick. I have to wait about a month just to see someone. Unless I want to go to the ER or Urgent care, which again costs the gov't more money. It's not hard to figure out what they need to do.

  196. I believe Gates become nothing more than a lapdog for Obama. He is soon to leave, so he won't be around to face the havoc when it occurs. And just because he says it needsto be changed doesn't make it okay… don't give in to that position…it only opens the door wider for him to walk through. So I guess being part of the military is just like being a civilian….8 hours per day, weekends off, home with the family most of the time, ….ops I forgot about being on call 24 hours per day….working around the clock if required with no additional compensation. Oh, I forgot, other civilians normally get overtime (but that don't count for anything)….Duck….Oh, those were only bullets..not to worry.

  197. (Cont'd) The bottom line is for us oldtimes (30 years), we were apparently lied to….but that seems to be the way for our government anymore. They keep creating new benefits for no-loads who don't contribute shit to anything. And their numbers are increasing and their demands are increasing. At least we know who will be getting the dollars for our lost/promised benefits. If you want to do something about any of this write Gates a letter, write your congressman and senator…..and keep writing. That's about all we can do right now

  198. I have spent 20 plus years in the Army, and have earned my rights to heathcare. When I enlisted I was told that healthcare for retirees would be free for life. Then comes Champus, then comes Tricare. What will they take next or charge us a arm and leg to afford? Mr. President, Mr. Gates, this is not right. What happened to taking care of the soldiers who provided freedom for this great country? Day 1, Basic Training, You give a soldier your word, you keep it or die trying. What happen to the word? Shame, shame, shame!!!

    US Army (Retired)

  199. I really screwed up when I retired ,working for a fortune 500 company I paid weekly for health and dental care for my family, They were the first payer and Champus the second well this made my part much less ,I could have opted out and saved 200.00 per month and used Champus and paid what my share was <I was much younger then and used my blue cross or humana very little 200per mo times 12=2,400 per year times 20 years working as a civilian=48,000.00 dollars over this period, now that I am fully retired and needing my military insurance Tri-Care after saving the government much money by not opting out of my civilian coverage they want to stick it to all of us , not to mention we received no cola raise for past two years and their is talk about two more years behind these last two and since the Government took out (IOU's) from our social security and has mot paid it back into the program they say we may end up with no social security if something is not done to correct the loss and us baby boomers are the problem there is just too many of us lets just face fact's here our government discriminates against military retirees how is this well if you have a service connected disability up to 45% your retirement is just off-set you get nothing more than a tax break for almost 50 % of your Body and since we only have 100% of our body so cut your body in half about the waist and throw it away you have half a body now and it's only worth a tax break come on give me a break what has our retirement got to do with injuries sustained while in service ? Other veterans that say served 2 months or one year do not have anything off-set they receive the full % and retirees get an off-set we earned every last red cent of our retirement without going into story after story of that career or sacrifice after sacrifice and now they are going to make us continue to sacrifice and guess what it will never stop we seem to be the first one they jump on when they need to cut spending

  200. During these tough budget times, we all have to do some part. I really do like my retired medical care payments, but they are WELL below what a civilian in the private sector has to pay. But i do agree with the trend here that it is a shame that keeping promises to military retirees doesn't seem to be high on the priority list anymore.

  201. Slammer2353 | January 14, 2011 at 1:10 am |

    Here we go again, now those that served honorably and sacrificed whatever was asked of us must again salute smartly and endeavor to persevere when does it end? After over 30 years of service I feel I should be able to depend on my government the way they depended on me. What a naive way of thinking. Everyone needs to take some time to bring their views to the surface. I am willing to march where ever I need to, to get our point across Lets Get It Done before it is too late

  202. Like many have said here, Congress gets a free ride after serving just ONE term and they get it for life. They NEVER pay into the system and usually rich to begin with.

    Cutting troop strength??? That's totally absurd!!! We've cut into the meat and not just trimmed the fat. Today's combat forces are stretched to their limits. EVEN THE RESERVES have had multiple deployments. The short turn arounds and extensive combat time is going to be a retention problem and I believe a key reason to the increases of suicide in our armed forces.

    TRICARE increases?? Well maybe a few may be in order, but NOT to the extent I have heard Gates propose. Afterall, when I went in it was promised free medical for life if you spent 20 or more. That was a lie. The two groups the government lies to and takes from at the stroke of a pen are our seniors followed by veterans and retirees.

    Bottom line, these professional bureaucrats do not have a clue about the military or anything in government as I see it. They make things complicated or worse.

  203. why not cut the pay of members of congress pay and beneftes.

  204. Democrats hate the military, they see a large amount of money they want to waste on their misguided socialist programs. The only way to protect ourselves from them is to not elect them. Do you think for one second that Obama or Gates care in the least about promises made to Vetereans.

  205. Asherbanapal | January 14, 2011 at 1:50 am |

    Gates is a civilian, and a poor one at that. To have someone like him represent military men and women is a disgrace. There are many things that could be said about him, most caused by emotions, and can not be printed.
    I am a disabled vet of the Korean conflict and VietNam. Marine in Korea and Navy ashore in VN. When I enlisted I was promised free Medical and Dental it I served 20+ years honorably. I did that! 25 years! This country's politicians have lied to me and all others like me. I hate those who think so little of my country that they lie, and feel good about doing so. They lie about the vet, and they are willing to take all they are able to steal, money that comes out of the Vet's promises. Gates is a lier, and a thief. Just one of many that do not respect the constitution, and thereby disrespect our country. They should be treated a traitors!

  206. Anthony Jackson | January 14, 2011 at 2:27 am |

    A concern military retiree/US civilian:
    I agree will all my fellow brothers and sister's who have served their country proudly. The promise of free health care for life after completing 20+ years of serves, is a promise broken to the all volunteer force. This is how the most powerful nation in the world treats it's veterains (discard after use). Most retirees cannot afford health care and rely heavily on tricare (standards or for life). I would say to Mr. Gates, please revisit this decision on charging the nations honored soldiers who volunteered to put thier life on line for their country when no one else came forward. We can save alot of funds if we make alternative funds a priority for the military. I have a few idea for the military fuel needs.

  207. To be fair as seen by the present in charge?? there should be a cut across the board for ALL Gov't Employees and that means from the President Down at a Percentage Equally, if its 2% for a private then 2% for the Pres, I didn't mind doing my time for what was promised and expect everyone to do the same, for years I did not think it was not fair for the Congress to draw retirement for only one term for live to do a job they elected to do. Its Just not right or Equitable in the light of the requirements of the job. But who expects it to be????

  208. Primo Benavides | January 14, 2011 at 3:58 am |

    Left, Right, Left, Right. The chicken hawk republicans are at it again. Cutting the little benefits that we earned doing 20-22 hours days 7 days a week 52 weeks a year. It is high time that We The Reited People demanded that Congresman and Senators, Civil Servants all take a 33 percent across the board reduction in pay, and health benefits. Why is it that only the military retirees are being targeted. Why not the high paid CIVIL SERVANTS and Congress. Respectfully, USN SPECOMM 1970-1993

  209. The government just keeps pushing america into the ground. When will this shit stop???? When people start doing something thats when. We cant take much more of this.

  210. Commerical World | January 14, 2011 at 6:10 am |

    Welcome to the club bubba. Todays military are paid wages at a very well level and one military branch is way under worked and never served in Iraq nor Afganistain. The civilian equivaltant in the commercial world of most specialities do not make nearly the same income. You forget the BAH and in some places that is $2 grand a month and every bit of it tax free! 30 days paid vacation. You are lucky to get one weeks salary of paid vacation working for a commerical enitity. Plus no ceiling on sick leave, seldom bridled liberty. Do not have to shell out 50% plus percent of your income when you are sick. Don't get time off for "wellness" eveyday and plus don't get a GI Bill to boot. I wish I got have of what you all get in the real world. Wake up, the money is gone and all the big corporate rich and corrupt congress leaders took our money and ran

  211. Someone please help me to understand how Mr. Gates can talk about making cuts to the Military and raising Tricare for Retirees , but the Congress gave themselves a raise and they get HealthCare and a nice Retirement check for life. While us Retiree can barely making it. Some of us living pay check to pay check.

  212. Over 20 years. 4 tours to the craphole Afghanistan, Desert Storm and countless tdy's to all over this world. Screw you Gates! This country is going to sh-t!!!

  213. I complain all the time about what is happening to this country and the benifits that we losing. I also know that we elected these individuals into office and we to can firer them at the end of there term.

    What we as retirees are a large force that can change what impact the decissions that are being made by Washington. I read where someone wrote here on these blogs that we need to join our org. so we have someone to speak for us and our rights.

    Well it seems that it works some what some of the time, but I feel that we as military retirees should band together as one, not having all these groups lobby for us. This would show the force that we do have together and maybe Washington would hear our voices .

    Yes we all need to band together for we are all retirees of the same government and lobby as one and let this country know that we may be retired, but we are still fighting for the freedom and rights that belong to the indivduals that served this country so very well.


  214. For those of you that never served, Freedom isn't Free. You sit back and enjoy this great republic while a small percentage go and do all the dirty work. We deserve the Free (low rate) health care. We fricken earned it.

  215. Another more equitable approach might be to cap outpatient Dr care to a fixed
    annual amount, adding a large co-pay to those who exceed it. Reward those who take an interest in holding down costs and staying healthy. This would ultimately
    bring down those gov per patient costs referenced in this article. Motivate retirees
    to live healthier diets, and do more to take personal care of themselves.******

  216. Garret Goorhouse | January 14, 2011 at 7:26 am |

    Wow! Thanks again Uncle Sam! Another Broken Promise, And congress wonders why the people of this country think most of the politicians can't be trusted. THEY CAN'T they sure take care of them selves. Just a heads up congressmen and women. People who join the military are the only TRUE U.S. people along with police and fire fighters that truly serve and care about this country. And we get nothing after 20 years in comparison to what congress get. IT IS TIME FOR A HUGE CHANGE!!!!!!!!

  217. TCT625(retired) | January 14, 2011 at 7:59 am |

    This is just another knife in the backs of the veterans that have servered. They changed the rules for the ones that have total unemployablility from 10 years (with no grandfather status for those who already have it) to 20 years inorder for thier spouses to be able to claim it. Now they want to increase the cost of our Tricare which we worked for. Mr Gates, (I use this loosely) you should try and stand on your own feet and make your own decessions instead of trying to be a YES man. You are doing nothing but destroying the morale of the people that have served this country and still are serving this country. Let them and us keep what is rightfully ours and stay out of areas that you do not belong in like, the Country's budget, you are merely a Defence Sec, nothing more, lets keep it this way. You are on your way out, help the Vets instead of hurting them, that is your job.

  218. Michael Gobert | January 14, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about budget cuts to where it always affects the common people. As of the subject of the military. What is it going to take to get our so-called government to take a pay cut in stead of always the common people.

  219. "that fees have not risen since the pro­gram replaced CHAMPUS in 1995"

    Why should they increase. Didn't use to cost us anything. Then they started this HMO crap. Leave TriCare alone. We are already getiing screwed as it is

  220. My husband is about to be medically chaptered out of the army. As if this wasn't stressful enough, now we have to worry about medical costs for disabled veterans? I know who deserves to be voted OUT of office!

  221. This is outrageous, Mr. Gates. The government should honor the promises it has made to those who have served.

  222. CWO3 R Jackson Smith | January 14, 2011 at 9:19 am |

    Tell Michelle Obama to stop spending $650 on a pair of shoes. I thought this administration was going to cut wasteful spending. Instead this administration, Mr Gates, wants US to pay for the out-of-control spending by reducing benefits, raising premiums, and the list goes on. Let's start by decreasing Senators and House of Representatives pay to $75,000/year and put them and their families on the health care program passed by our "Representatives." Mr. Gates, if you work your will and get this done, may God have mercy on your soul—that is if you have one!

  223. lets cut Gates, and leave TriCare alone

  224. SON OF A BIG DOG…… WE GET SCREWED AGAIN W/ NO KISS!!!!! Makes a vet wonder how they can get away with it. And they sleep good in their mansions every night not thinking about the common patriot who has a chump retirement and tri….What a FARCE

  225. I would like to see Mr Gates put on a uniform and pick up a weapon and go into combat with the rest of the military. I bet his attitude about retiree benefits would change. Has Mr Gates ever been on active duty?

  226. Spcops Army Ret. | January 14, 2011 at 10:26 am |

    Mr. Gates, while you are still in office and when you do leave office, you don't have the balls to have yours and the rest of the high paid officals have their pensions and health care cut back to almost nothing do you?

  227. Donald Wiegand | January 14, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    Try living on 40,000 a year Mr. Gates. see how much more you can squeeze out of me, You wont get much as I dont have anything left!

  228. If everyone is so mad about the military spending to much money than cut the civilion contractors that make up to 4 times what a joe makes for doing the exact same job if not less.

  229. Haji Ret.
    Hey Mr gates,
    Arent You Forgeting The soldiers That pay the Price for all of Congress, so You guys can have time off with your family and friends,when they are six feet under.I am not bitter,Remember when you stand before GOD Tell Him what you really did for soldiers and family?

  230. Retired Warrant 3 | January 14, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    Mr. Gates. This will be your legacy. I for one will always remember you as the schmuck that took the reason I stayed in for more than 20 years (reliable and affordable health coverage for my family) and chunked it in the trash. I hope you get hit by a truck the day you retire so you know how we retirees feel. Creep!

  231. CPO retiring soon | January 14, 2011 at 11:06 am |

    Universal Heath Care for all Americans… Problem solved! Not this watered down BS version that requires everyone to carry insurance… Get rid of the insurance companies altogether… Including TRICARE! They're the problem, and the reason healthcare costs so much in the first place!

  232. The military is the last ones to get a pay raise; while members of congress and other politicians, get their raises first. The sit behind their desks and more dangerous than our troops putting their lives on the line every day. Let the politicians trade places with our troops.

  233. I agree wholeheartedly with you Top. I also sent an email to Rep John Mica, FL (R) asking for his views on this issue regarding increasing retiree health care premiums. Sent it a month or so ago—have got nothing back NO RESPONSE form Rep MICA or his staffers. Yeah, my congressman is listening to his constituents concerns. NOT. I guess he is too busy trying to releal the just passed healthcare law. The great United States of America, the US Congress and our SecDef are renigging on the benfits promises cited (in writing or verbally by recruiters) when we entered the military.

    Ok all us ignorant and powerless veterans, bend over and take in the arse once again! And suck it up! absolutely no appreciattion for how military retirees and their families have already paid it forward—That is why we are entitled to free medical care for life. An increase in veterans' premiums should be rejected outright and in principle.

  234. Below is the link to the US House of Representatives. This link is House's Write Your Representive page where you can find who your rep is by your address or zip code. From that page, your rep has a Write to Me link on his/her page. STRONGLY recommend you take 5 minutes to inform your government representatives of your concerns.

  235. When it comes to health care, the Obama administration is simply practicing a socialist aim similar to a "redistribution of American wealth". Their goal is to provide a "leveling" of health benefits to all citizens and must find a way to pay for this leveling. Since many of the health care recipients are welfare type people, and have no entitlements, and have contributed nothing to their health care, payment for them must be made by robbing the benefits earned by retiring service members. The Obama Administration will pay for the benefits given to these others by decreasing the benefits of retired U.S. Service Personnel and charging more. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

  236. Once again empty promises from our government of fat cats. Cut the bennies given to these bottom feeders and make them all feed from the same trough as the rest of us patriots. We earned what is left of what was promised….WANT THAT TOO……Retired Senior Chief

  237. Maybe they should look at the generals and colonels who have private chefs..personal assistants..private flights…there part othe military..lets start cutting back on there bull **** budget

  238. If they really want to cut spending money left them in congress cut there spending they dont need a special plane to go to place to place. They don't need there on special cooks, let them cook for them self, they don't need all the special dinner parties, special expensive gifts, let them do with what we have to deal with every day of our lives. No medical benefits, low retirement pay, losing our homes, can't find jobs, and find out that your terminal sick and now they want to take your care away from you, and you can't even afford to even live cause you are living pay check to pay check. When they live like kings with unlimited money to spend what they get paid would help so many of the people who have no jobs, homes, and we are starving to death and our kids are starving,they then turn to crime to support themselves to keep themselves feed and there children. Why don't they keep there promises to us, we fought for our country and now they want to turn there back on us when we need them more than ever.

  239. "God and the soldier we adore, in time of danger not before. When danger's past and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted." Let's see how that plays out: God had taken a back seat in the current political climate, and the military (a large percentage of whom their family's are on welfare and food stamps) are being told, "Hey, join the Army of One and get your ass shot off in the Middle East, then when you finally retire, we'll most likely screw you out the promised benefits. How does that sound. Sad.

  240. Below is the link to the US House of Representatives. This link is House's Write Your Representive page where you can find who your rep is by your address or zip code. From that page, your rep has a Write to Me link on his/her page. STRONGLY recommend you take 5 minutes to inform your government representatives of your concerns.

  241. Alfred D Elder | January 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm |

    Back in 1954 when I decided to make the Army my professional endeavor I was promised lto have full medical coverage for the rest of my life if I stayed in service for 20 or more years of service. Well I retired after 30 years and some days of honorable service fully believing I would be taken care of. HOW WRONG IAM. Ever since then the Civil serpants have been cuttilng away from those benefits while they are padding their retirement benefits to the MAX. SO how can you propose such a reduction for the defenders of this Nation. If you had even spent one day in a combat zone you would understand our anger toward you and yopur proposal. What goes around comes around

  242. Just watched a clip on CNN showing Mr. Biden getting choked up while talking to some troops. Not sure about the exact words, but he said something to the affect that "we can never repay you enough for the service you are providing". If our government's idea of "repayment" is to not give us pay raises while increasing our medical and dental costs, I don't want your repayment! At this rate, my retirement check will not even cover my medical costs in a few years. Now I understand how the American Indians felt in the 1800's, can't trust the Government to hold up their end of the deal! FC1(SW) retired.

  243. MHS/SF i put 22 years in the service. It is a damn shame that these people that make the rules and the laws that affect military retirees don't have any idea what a lot of these service people have endured. When these office holders get retired they have a life of luxury. They will receive their retirement and better health care then the men that have defended this country. We need to vote all of these people out of office and put some people in that are aware of what military service can do to a person after 20 years.

  244. If we had NATIONAL HEALTH CARE we would not be having this debate.
    No brainer.

  245. Want to make cuts? Stop paying for the spouses education. There's several thousand for every spouse as the government feels they earn it. My ex gets my retirement, even though she was remarried (so, whats up with that?). So for it all to be fair to the retires who earned these few benefits, cut off the spouses schooling. They want it? Let them get a loan like everyone else does.

  246. Crimefighter | January 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    Most of the people complaining voted for Obama. You get what you pay for. You ask for change you get change. I did not and will not vote for a Democrat…..

  247. When I entered Air Force in 1957 I was promised full Medical and other benfits. But we paid Tricare, and now Medicare taken out of our Social Security checks. I believe this is paying for my medical care. You talk of cutting Military pay, but yet you expect them to go to war an protect our country. How about you who have never been in the service and sitting in congress Take a pay cut instead of raiseing your pay, an give the serviceman & woman a pay raise instead of a pay cut !!

  248. Not too Happy | January 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    ALL I CAN SAY MAYBE WE NEED TO PASS TWO NEW LAWS. 1 Whatever congress passes will affect them like it affects us 2, We the people decide what their Pay-pay raises and of course their retirement should be

  249. I went in the U.S. Army when I was 17 years old. I was told of all of the benifits that I would have if I spend 20 years. One of them was for medical for the rest of my life for my wife after I got married. I got out of the Army and was told I had ten years to use my school benifits, well guess what I still had 5 years left and they took it from me.

  250. They did not grandfather it I was told there is nothing that I could do about in, but they gave their selves a pay raise for the great job they was doing. The whole thing about it is I agree with them, but first lets start with them. They should all have to serve in combat and live throu what they expect the military to do when ever the whem hits them to stick their nose into some other countrys bussines. They should have to serve 20 years to get their retirement like we do.

  251. Folks is this new news to you? Look at how our Governemnt treated Native Americans and the promises that the Government made to them.

  252. My name is Norma L. Baer (widowed)since 10/02/1999 11:37pm.

    Lost my Beloved Husband to the ( Big C).He served 23 1/2

    Years in the Army as well as I (His Wife) and our children

    did. And;not only did He love His Country but; He loved

    His Family too. And;when we were lucky enough to join Him

    on some of His Duty Tours,living out of suitcases with (3)

    small children while waiting for Quarters,and as Luck

    would have it.He be called out to TDY of Duty!! So;that

    left Me setting up the Household.Plus;the fact of finding

    and taking any job that may be available to help support

    our Family while my Husband supported our Country.Wasn’t

    Easy,believe me.Had to walk in our shoes to know the feeling

    of it. Some may or may not know what I mean,but;to those

    who have served in any Branch of the Military sure does know.

    So;You (and no names needed)…

    (Fat,Rich,People)can live High off the Hog.Not having

    to worry about your next meal,School Lunches,School Field

    Trips that at times we couldn’t afford.Having to buy our

    clothes from the Post Thift Shop,counting pennies,NO:You’s

    in your Fancy Suits/Ties,Dinners,and Your Wives all Deck Out

    in their Beautiful Gowns,Shoes,and probably Nannies looking

    after your children!!!! Well; you know what? Have (Your)

    Good Life here on Earth and don’t worry about us that have

    Made it possible for you to do so. When it all comes down

    to the (END)….. Each and Everyone of (YOU’S) sitting in

    that (Big White House)will Wish To “God” that you treating

    each and everyone person FAIR. To Do Unto Other’s As You

    Would Have Them Do Into You!!! To make a Promise is to Keep

    Your Word….So;go ahead and tally your Votes but;in the

    (END) the Vote in Your Heart that tells you (Right From

    Wrong) is the one You will need..When “God” makes His vote








  253. I understand the need to cut the budget; otherwise there is a chance our economy could be in danger of collapse. The DoD shouldn't be exempt from cuts. However, what cuts are being made in congress and the executive branch of the government? Why are they still trying to extend unemployment benefits for those that are not willing to work? As a new 38 year old retiree; the current cost of medical benefits were factored in to my retirement. If an increase is needed it should be held to a minimal and increased incrementally over the period of several years to meet the needed amount. Additionally the increase should only apply to members that do not have an approved retirement date or new enlistees/appointees. A modest increase will most likely cause undo and unfair burden on current retirees.

  254. Well.well the "Republicans" have landed Now THOSE WHO VOTED FOR THEM should not "Complain" after all you asked for what they are doing!!!!!!!!

  255. I've said it before and I'll say it again. STOP supporting other countries, stop paying the U.N. 250 million dollars per year to be a member of a group that does not have the best interest of the USA in mind, stop all social programs and jobs for all ILLEGAL immigrants, STOP the auromatic pay raises the politicians have placed into law for their benefit, stop funding ALL pork projects for at least 2 to 4 years, and last, but not least, since OUR military is fighting and dying for other countries, have them pay for all our logistics while we are there. If they don't. tell them "BYE"! These are some of the ways to get our country back on it's feet and reduce the debt. We had better start protecting OUR borders better, otherwise we will regret it in the near future.

  256. As a retired navy son of a son of a sailor allow me, please, to observe that the American Government has only treated it's Veterans well following two conflict- that being the "Civil" War between the States and "World War 2". After the Civil War many military personnel became politicians and persons of influence. The same was true for World War 2. But whenever the military has been administered by those other than Veterans the Congress and Senate have treated us shamelessly. From The "Whiskey Rebellion through the "Bonus Army" of the 1920's to present day Iraq/Afghanistan American service people have been treated shamelessly by Congress and the Senate. So the old poem by Rudyard Kipling still holds true:
    "I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
    The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
    The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
    O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
    But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,…


  258. Dennis Koch | January 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm |

    When are the VETS going to go to the Capital to show our dissatisfaction for the way the Goverment is cheating the active and retire Military of our Benefits.
    We were promised these benefits and now some few politicians what then taken from us.
    Why do they not take some of there own beneifits, instead of always picking on the Military.

  259. Congress would recoil in horror if someone suggested cutting unearned welfare payments. But military retirees / vetrans? Ah, screw 'em.

  260. Too bad that all these comments cannot be bundled up and submitted to the appropriate Congressmen, Senators, and the President to remind them that:

    To paraphrase General George Washington, "The ability of a nation to call it's young to service today will be judged on how they view how veterans of prior wars have been treated.''

  261. Why is everyone so upset, did not the President say it is time for
    a change, now the changes are taking place. Remember us
    military vets are and will always be used to help bring down the
    deficit that the government has incured, and as long as cuts in
    our benefits are happening then the better off the government will
    be and we make them look like they are doing a good job .
    As a Vietnam vet who served proudly to protect America for 22yrs
    of my life, people like Gates disgusts me and I wish he would put
    on a uniform and fight and protect the country as we did then maybe
    he would change his way of thinking. I have no respect for him as all
    he is doing is kissing ase to keep his cussy job.

  262. james l lewis | January 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm |

    i am just plain pissed off

  263. It's a sad day when a Secretary of Defense can convince our lawmakers and Commander-in-Chief (nearly all of whom were elected to office promising to protect the benefits of retired veterans and those still serving courageously to keep the nation free) to increase tricare costs for the military and its retirees.

    Now, after sacrificing so much, these brave men and women who accepted their government's promises as truth may be told it is just too expensive for those promises to be kept. Such actions by the Secretary and lawmakers are especially inconceivable since hundreds of billions of dollars have been and continue to be approved to prop up foreign countries that seemingly are unconcerned about the precious freedoms fought for and enjoyed by Americans.

    It's a sad day indeed.

  264. No Sacrice Too Great, Duty First!

    This was my MOTTO throughout my 20+ years of military. I gave more than I could possible could give to the defense our Gov't or our allies. I had never compared my service to the Gov't with any civilian world…they were 8-5, but mine never was 8-5…basically had no life for 20+ years. Even bad about paying TRICARE fees or whatever…thought dental was free for life, but that's a big lie…Anyway, SecDef…I kwow you have a good life…never have to worry about $, but I do, even to a penny. When you retire, you'll get a first class medical service…or lots of more than what I would ever imagine. Be considerate, think hard…I know you can still THINK, and come up with something different – and cut that, not the retirees' stuffs that they traded for their life.

  265. WILLIAM PARRISH | January 15, 2011 at 8:20 am |


  266. He probably doesn't have to worry about insurance or paying for it. It's hard right now for us who have TriCare Prime to find a doctor that will accept it. More doctors are not wanting to keep taking TriCare Prime. We have enough to worry about. So why would he want to punish us with raising the cost!. They need to try and help us out instead of trying to hurt us.

  267. I don't understand our government. Everything goes up and there is no raise. I retired with 24 years, disabled veteran, went to war and had to care for children. Cutting troops is the wrong answer. Now raising tricare. Everyone show go on strike because our government is not helping us only hurting us. When I was stationed in Germany and the terroist started then, I knew that the world is not going to be safe. In my opinion, the United States government better get hold of every situation it can or its going to be too late for the american people. I am looking to buy a home but now I am thinking twice. I do not want to be in debt within two years. What is going on remains me of a song by Guns n Roses Welcome to the jungle. As one person put it, the military is totally different that civilian life and we should not be compared to them. Our government SUCKS the big one. They are not helping the American people. STRIKE is best even if it is just for one day. Maybe the government will know we mean business.

  268. Good comment. Just like going to war. The politicains don't have to go, they send us and they sit back just collecting that money while our soldiers are dying. Is it fair? No. So unless the American people start standing up for themself it is only going to get worse. WE pay these high prices for fuel, food utilities and rent because everyone else has to make a living well what about us. I have not received a disability raise in 2 years and my pension is going down because I have to pay dental costs for my children. I won't have this life. I love the United States but the crap I went through is not worth it anymore.

  269. I am sorry but there has never been anything in writing that states when you sign on the dotted line and raise your right hand that you will health benefits after you leave service other than for service connected disabilities.

    Don't get down on Gates he is just the scape goat. We knew this was coming it's in the Health Care Bill signed by Obama. Don't thing VA Health Care won't be affected.

    If you want to write then send your letters to Obama, Reid, and Polosi who created the monster Gates is just the lap dog.

  270. We got spit on and worse when we got back from Viet Nam and those of us that finished our 20 and all of the promises, looks like we are getting spit on again, congratulations Washington and Gates.

  271. Benefits? LOL, i'm a disabled vet, and the waiting line to see a dr for a eye prescription is 8 months, dental forget it; its like 1 year; benefits? not likely, they don't tell you this when u join, u have to find out the hard way later, that you are really on your own when it comes to services and benefits, when u call the clinic, u get a voice mailbox that says dial 9-1-1, LOL

  272. Joined the USAF in 1951 and retired 20 years later. Served during some of the
    Korean conflict and a lot of years of the Vietnam experience. Been 40% disabled since about 1974/5/6/7; service connected. Was supposed to be taken care of "for life." But cut off! Then put back on with Tricare fof Life.
    Is it my fault that I am lucky enough to be still living? My retirement was based
    on "what was promised!" How about the Sen./Rep. give up just 1% of their
    retirement package? Might be quite abit of money there!

  273. Once upon a time (after WWII) some relatively smart military and civilian leaders created the greatest military healthcare system on the planet.

    And both active-duty, retirees, and their dependants received EXCELLENT care, as needed, in military hospitals and clinics throughout the country, AT NO COST (except meals). Retirees & tieirs could get care in emergencies or by referral at civilian facilities through a very low out-of-pocket system called CHAMPUS. Worked pretty good too!

    Retirees & theirs were authorized care at military facilities per the US Code on a “space available basis”, and the hard working under-payed active-duty folks at most facilities tried real hard to find a way to make “space” always available for them.

    Then along came “president Hillary and her husband slick-Willy”. She had “a plan” for universal healthcare for all americans, which in short order most americans told her to put where no sunshine would dare go…So – the story goes that one dark night she rolled over in bed (speaking over her girlfriend to her husband) and said something like…you’re the Commander-In-Chief, and can prove through the military that my plan will work!

    And so, it came to pass that TRICARE was born, which quickly turned the greatest healthcare system on the planet into a giant HMO…(a great boon for some healthcare management & insurance companies.

    And then healthcare costs continued to rise…BIG F&%KING SUPRISE THEIR BUDDY!

    I know these truths to be…I was there.

    Politicans, political apointees, educated “know-it-all” beans counters, who never served anything (except themselves – another big heepin-helpin at the tax-payers table).

    And that’s the way it was…

  274. Retired 1SG | January 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    Mr. Gate the est are so right. I just a house for the first time. Now you going to increase the cost of our insurance. I am not going to get any more raises with the economic in a state of disaster. In two months I will be 57 and I am sure no one will hire me in a new job at this age. Your are you doing to us. Maybe I can run for your poiposition or some of the other political officials and get free medical care for the rest of my life. Why can you all get Tricare and pay for it. It's not right for me to do 24 years and some of your politicians do 6 to 12 year and yo and your family get free medical care for the rest of your life and make a 6 figure salary when my current job and retirement check doesn't add up to 6 figure a year.

  275. Retired 1SG | January 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    Mr. Gate the rest are so right. I just a house for the first time. Now you going to increase the cost of our insurance. I am not going to get any more raises with the economic in a state of disaster. In two months I will be 57 and I am sure no one will hire me in a new job at this age. Your are you doing to us. Maybe I can run for your poiposition or some of the other political officials and get free medical care for the rest of my life. Why can you all get Tricare and pay for it. It's not right for me to do 24 years and some of your politicians do 6 to 12 year and yo and your family get free medical care for the rest of your life and make a 6 figure salary when my current job and retirement check doesn't add up to 6 figure a year.

  276. Dear Congress,
    LEAD BY EXAMPLE, take a pay/retirement cut also. Oh and don't expect your retirement unless you've done 20+ years of servcie, not a day less. In fact how about slimlining your assistants to no more than 2 each? That in itself will cut alot of unnecessary spending.

  277. LOWER……MIDDLE………………………………………………………………UPPER
    Our separation of classes now.

  278. Thats right….screw the retired….the very people who stood up ready to die for their country….. typical politician……but give the money you save to the blood sucking leaches who live better than me on goverment assistance and popping out babies every nine months to collect more money…….but mister gates will sit back laughing as he goes to the bank every month with his retirement and cola increases…is all B.S.

  279. It would appear we have another Bob Kerry, who everytime the government looked for ways to cut spending he was the first with his hand up offering up the VA as the sacraficial lamb. What did he care? He already had his disability compensation plus what he was receiving for the MOH and his retirement from congress. So hey just take it from my fellow vets, they don't need it.
    Now they have over 300,000 new veterans, most of which are going to need medical or psycholgical treatment and the suffering of their dependents through all of this. I certainly don't see any members of congress or the senate taking a cut in pay or benefits for the good of the economy. Even though the economy is in the conditions it is do to their ineffectiveness to actually step up to the plate and do what is right.

  280. Retired E6, my retirement pay less than $18,000.00 per year which, could I say in the poverty level? Now the Secretary of Defense wants to raise what we pay for TRICARE, what he calls modest, lets cut the Post Masters General salary, ($700,000.00 a year) he makes more that the President, plus perks. No one should make more than the President of the United States that works for the governement. There are your cuts that need to be done.

  281. DALLASBAILEY | January 16, 2011 at 3:33 am |


  282. how bout stoping matchin funds from us citizens(for govdt workers –thrift savins plans–also cut salaries for elected officials and their appointees…than we might be agreeaable on takin our share of cuts……

  283. I am A Viet Nam Vet. I was promised the same as the others.
    Maybe we are approaching this wrong.

    When my grandson asked me about my service, I told him I enjoyed it, and we talked about the good times. When he asked me if he should join I said NO, HELL NO!

    The military recruiters will show you fancy charts and tell you can have anything you want. When you join you have given up your right to have a life without reasonable restrictions, to live where you want, to progress in your profession as you are capable, but most of all you will not get any of the supposed benefits you are promised.

    You will be the first to get your pay cut, the first to get your retirement cut, the first to get your medical cut, the first to be forgotten. Worst of all the first to be spat upon, the first to be asked to sign a blank check to give all up to and including your life.

    When you tell the government you want to collect on the promises the Federal Government will tell you they have no money; they spent it on saving the habitat for the snail darter.

    No Hell No son; do not sign your life away to a government that does not support you in your post military years. The largest group of homeless in America is the forgotten Veteran; Not congressmen.

    If you, congress can do nothing else: give us veterans our health, you took away, and our remaining dignity.


  285. I agree with both jhuden ana abby. Huden stated that 2 terms should be the limit, with no exceptions and no retirement, they should be required to equally benefit from any bill being passed, be it good or bad. They should not be exempt from any law/bill that they helped pass. And NO pay increases without the approval of the electorate.

  286. Louis Gholston | January 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    This is not what I understood when I joined up in 1985, but like everything the government wants to fix their failures and expect that those of us that have served and have left our families many time on deployments, training or restricted tours of duty to again continue to give. I do not see any of them cutting there benefits, pay or staff, in fact its the exact opposite. They just don't get it. SGM (Ret)

  287. It is a shame that whenever cuts our to be made in our country it’s never from the top down. All the smart people in government who were elected to their positions continually get a increase. I along with many am upset with the cuts and increases being made to veterans as well as the 1.4% raise we as active duty received. I got it we are in a economic crisis and I feel bad for those who have had to endure it. But I wonder who felt bad when a Soldier missed a childs birth or birthday party, a anniversary or the first dance recital. We all choose to protect and defend our great country as volunteers something that not many would do so why would we punish those lives.

  288. Want cuts……………how 'bout starting with the fat cats in congress, pay them the same as the military pay scale, give them the same medical care as we get and cut out all their bennies!!

  289. Start writing your elected offcials, because the small hike Gates is talking about will only start small. Part of the new congressional budget commitee chairman plan is rise tricare fees on retirees from $460 a year to $2460 year over a period of time. Sen McConnel calls our tricare ,veterans welfare, with that kind of language it is not hard to figure where they are going.

  290. Why is it that we (the hired and retired) troops spend many years protecting OTHER countries and many dying or maimed doing it have to constantly worry about being compensated in our old age. I was told that there was never an obligation or guarenty for the government to take care of my wife and Ibecause I retired after 22 years. That what we get is all there is and that is adjustable to the needs of the government. TriCare is a joke and thats for sure. Example: I retired in Panama (the cost of living fits better with what my retirement is) and they (tricare) has a set price of what they will reimburse for our "out of pocket" expenses for treatment. I had a hearing problem and they charged me $135.00 for the tests and treatment and tricare allowed $52.00. Were is the justice, I ask you.

  291. Very sad to hear what's going on with the retired military, I'm also retired after 22 years of service (medical combat related). …But the change should come from the Pentagon and not from the military men and women who served. I believed if I go and review all the military programs I would find a lot of waste and fraud in DOD programs. That should be in the billions of dollars that are being waste by our government, So Mr. Gates be real, check your programs in DOD, before you touch our benefits.

  292. Michelle Obama from a 2009 Army Times article:

    "You'll see more down the line that will show, not just in word but in deed, that we have to invest in our military, their families, and our veterans in a real meaningful way," she added. "Whether that's job training, mental health support [or] whether that's ensuring that people have access to the health care they need."

    Ooh, Aah. We love you Michelle. Where is the oohing and aahing now?

  293. BOB SHINGLETON | January 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm |


  294. I will be happy to pay it- once Gates and Company repeal the bonus my ex gets the the Former Spouse Protection Act. I have gained three ranks since my divorce yet she is the beneficiary of it all. Starting to feel like Post-Vietnam around here.

  295. Hey Gates, open up your wallet instead of your mouth. Unless you have something to say that is worth listening to… A shocking idea "SAVE MONEY BY BRINGING OUR TROOPS HOME " and If the DOD and Congress want to save money why don't all of you go and take their place. All military retirees are already paying for this bad economy, which is apparent your not. I retired in 1998 USMC, and single female barely making it with what I get now. and can't afford the govt dental plan. I believe you want to see more Vets in the streets and in then what will you do next? Leave our benefits alone we earned it., You didn't ………Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (ret)

  296. Again, those who served are being screwed by the draft dodgers and liars in office. You should learn that freedom has a cost and now you want to burden those that gave for freedom to continue. I only have one word for all the Military and retirees. Vote the bigots out of office. We serve and sacrifice so they can keep all of their perks, wasteful spending and shameful decisions. They need to cut their pay to actual hours worked, not campaigned. Pay retirement only after at least 20 years of service and make them pay for medical costs that they run up in Military and V.A. hospitals. Until that is done, do not look at us to cut your pork. VOTE THEM ALL OUT!

  297. I just gotta ask, why always DOD! They never, never look to cut spending for…Oh, I don’t know…section 8 housing, food stamps for (in some cases 3rd or 4th generation) unwed mothers, disability scammers (there are thousands of um out there, you may know some), drug addicts programs, on and on, cradle to grave for those who have seldom, if ever, contributed anything to this country or humanity.

    No, that would be political suicide. Lets call all these civilian situations diseases, or just not their fault, and give them….well….more, and more, and MORE! That’s how ya get the vote!

    But, for those souls who gave their youth, their best, most productive years, sometimes their connection to their hometowns, families, and friends, and all too often a limb(s) or life…well we’re expendable, we’re retired, we’re only a burden on the budget. Gee, sure wish those retirees would hurry up and die, so we can save some money.

    But don’t screw with the civilian “entitlement” programs (the very word makes me cringe). Entitled why? Because they dropped out, didn’t get an education, got high, or drunk, or pregnant?

    Oh, but they got a vote, just like those of us who volunteered to serve, and learn, and work, and risk and often suffer. And there are more of them than us. And one thing politicans know how to do is count!

    And god-forbid, don’t do anything to screw with pork projects, bloated wasteful contracts to companies within the “military industrial complex” ($600,000 – for (1) one of the new V-hulled APC’s – Are you kidding me?), or businesses too big to fail. And certanily nothin against the big unions.

    But, the military budget (smaller and smaller every year – % wise). No problem, cut those personnel costs. No raise for retirees (2 years), raise TRICARE costs. No problem, easy pickins.

    So, yeah we’ll give a nice, big, new, GI-Bill to this latest group of veterians (because they’re very visable to the public, what with the war and all). It’s the “politically correct” thing to do!

    But screw those old retirees’! What can they do?

  298. O.K. You want to put a price tag on things…How much can I charge you for 9 years I spent away from my family? Can I get 2X pay 7 Christmas', countless birthdays and other holidays? How much can I charge you for going in harms way? How much can I charge you for the friends I lost? How much can I charge you for making me lie to recruits about benefits? IT WAS THE DEAL when I enlisted. Much like the deal I made by paying social security. I'm coming up short. Just tell me who I can send my bill to Mr. Gates. I pay taxes too. I would rather my tax money go toward paying my bebefits than Mr. Gates salery and benefit package. I wonder if the Marines that gaurd our security and go into harms way know what mr gates is up to.
    Shame on me for being quiet. I'll be talking to my Seneter. He knows who he works for.

  299. Mr Gates your idea sucks, I served 22= in the military whth the promise of having health care for life. I retired in 1975 as an E7 cpo WITH 450 dollars a month. What are you going to retire with? Won't tell will you, I don't blame you, not to mention your health care. The best in the country,you don't care that we fought and meny died to protect you'r ass do you. Well I say what goes around comes around.

  300. james Bolan | January 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    JIMBO History is only being repeated..non-military types elected and appointed have no concept of what military life entails both to the individual and his'her family.They all appear to be more concerned with social engineering than with the welfare of existing and retired military personnel. Is the "hope and Change " getting through to you?

  301. Michael Gray | January 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    It sure is disappointing to hear our SecDef proposing increases to the cost of health care for retirees, especially when we were led to believe that health care would be free. We should ask our veterans' organizations (MOAA, ROA, Fleet Reserve, etc) to make a lot of noise about this, write to our own congressmen, and start telling our teenagers NOT to trust any statements about future benefits. Meanwhile, let's not complain naively that we were "promised" any health care. Instead, let's simply demand what's fair: we deserve good health care at the expense of the nation we risked our health to defend.

  302. If you want to raise the cost for our medical benefits (TriCare), then why not make all retirement pay non-taxable for all retirees in every state.

  303. Currently Serving | February 26, 2011 at 8:51 am |

    Here's a thought…Run for offices in your distric and have all the Vet's back you. Then when you get into Congress break it off in there A$$E$!!!

    People, we as veterans, need to get the gypsys, tramps, and thieves out of DC. It takes a Vet to help a Vet, we can sit here and bitch all day but those that are able to run for the offices and get Vet backing should do so and bury these pinheads. I have a fury, and I plan to run for a office when I retire. I don't have funding, I am not a millionare, but I have morals,ethics, and values. Like many of you that have served honorably!!!

    I am tired of these so called politicians that are driving our country to poverty. I believe that if a Vet made good on his part then the Goverment should do the same. BTW did you know that only 1% of the entire population will serve in the military? Its true.

    Vets need to march on DC and let our voices be heard, loud and proud!!! When you do vote remember to vote for a Vet!!!!

  304. Night Raider | March 1, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    Free healthcare for life. Ha! Those of us 66 years old and older are on reduced, fixed incomes. Plus more is being taken out of our retirement checks for the IRS thsi year. I suggest they charge active duty personnel a small amount like FICA to fund retirement healthcare much like social security. Just don't let congress rob the trust fund!

  305. CANNON FODDER | March 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    Cannon Fodder; All the lies, disgrace, goes to back to the day’s of Coaltion of the Military Retireess class action law suit against the government. Spearheaded by Col. George “Bud” Day, MOH award recepient. , God Bless Him and many others, who advocated hard with heart and pocketbook for all military retirees all the way up to the Supreme Court then in finality the S.C. acknowleddged that military retirees were , indeed, promised free health care for life both in recruitment and retention literature for life

    However, DOD never pursued congress to fund “Broken Promises” and acknowledged the on-going tyranny “for the military retirees.

    Our nation is broke, in two wars, maybe maybe more to come. We, the military retirees, over age 70 years, my area of living age tenure, will not click heals and salute those who state within the DOD with impunity that their aere”NO Sacrid Cows”! We are Sacrid sir. We saved your butt, time and time again. Wew won the Cold War.

    We know that sacrifices must be made. We know that some military retirees have good jobs, good income from those jobs and other military retirees do not haveincome, are to old to work, have small military pensions.. That has to be reconciled fairly.

    Sacrifices must be made. Agreed. sacrifice but do not cut and hurt those retired , not working, disabled, those ready for Arlington.

    And do so without treating those of us who served many years like “Cannon Fodder” in word and deed

    God Bless.

  306. t. pruitt ret. cpo | March 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm |

    does this really supprise any of us, not me. as we all know promises are made to be broken, haven't we seen that enough already?? this adminastration is one of a kind, out to set records as we have already seen and are experiencing now, guess they woke up and have seen the devastation they have caused, who else to pick up the tab, elderly and retired militiary, hoping, but not caring if we do voice our feelings, we are almost history anyway………….i can't imagine what the future holds for upcoming generations making the militiary a career, will soon be 30 years to retire, following the footsteps of social security…………..i'm supprised we haven't seen demonstrations in dc yet….maybe we will soon………

  307. I am a 78 year old retiree still working. I pay $1,017 for Delta Dental and $1,158 for Medicare part B. What kind of an increase is being proposed?

  308. Dan Cunnington | March 14, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    Before you change our benefits, be honest with the American people and let them know how much YOU pay and will pay when you complete your assignment. I think you pay nothing now and will pay pay nothing later. Change the benefits but make sure you include all Congressmen/Women, Senators and every one else this change will effect. Show the American people that you currently pay no medial but will change to come on line for us. This act will show the people that you are a fair government. Let's see if any SES officials respond to this post.

  309. Sec Gates, It is a very hard economy in the US. Our country has been in a deficit (Great debt for hundreds of years). I agree with several posts about not increasing the cost for medical and dental for retirees. You guys at the top need to take a pay cut and the cola that is not going to war. Enlisted pay is not that great . We not only gave up 20 or more years, went through plenty of early mornings and late nights, sacriiced leaving our family (if they stayed around long enough) to go to wars), lost several friends during the war. Some things are irreplaceable. As for VA mileage it is not free for all. Once you are over 40 and out of the military it is very difficult to obtain a job especially with body damage (scars or missing limbs). VA disability rating pay has not been increased for disabled. So why increase health care cost?

  310. Seems to me that most of the money is going to pay our wonderful politicians and their little endeavours. How about we cut your spending? Hmmm? My husband is currently serving, at age 21. At our age we already have few if any civilian benefits to look forward to in retirement, since Social Security has done such a wonderful job paying for those its supposed to, plus all the lazy bums that worked just enough to collect. Now you want to start taking away military benefits. No. Say it with me, UN-ETHIC-AL.

    To our dear government I say LEAVE THE MILITARY ALONE. They get they job done, and do it well. None of you fellows on capital hill are putting your life on the line on the battlefield or having to leave your families for a year at a time praying you come home, or live with the horrors of what you have seen while gone. Enough men and women have died deffending our country, the least we can do is give them free medical.

    A. Jones

  311. cpo.usn.ret. | April 11, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

    I always thought that the Sec. of Def. is there to protect the military but I guess he is there like those politician that will do and say when they needed the votes.

  312. The military budget is over funded by 25%. Unfortunately, Gates is cutting benefits rather than contracts with overrun clauses and weapon programs that no one wants. As with other areas of the economy, the politicians are taking our tax dollars and handing it over to Wall Street who have captured our government.
    So stop voting these guys into office already!

  313. Here we go…. Forty years of service and three wars latter I get to the day I haved planned for since 1971 and the military and Congress tell me I have to give up benefits. OK, I undersatand, we all need to make some small sacrifices. My only complaint is that the people who make these far reaching choices are not part of the results. The military leadership and Congress have to be result oriented but they also have to be compassionate, understanding and most important effected by thier choices. My grandfather in his practical appraoch to life often said, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander".
    Our lawmakers don't understand half of the laws they pass and don't need to because they will not become personal issues for themselves or thier families.
    When we endured hard times in the field our spirits ran high because as you looked left and right your buddies stood shoulder to shoulder with you no matter how tough it got. Sec Gates and Gongress should now stand shoulder to shoulder with those of us who offered our lives to support out country.

  314. 1SG Lewis | May 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    As a militray recruiter for 16 years and a current retiree, what every happen to the contract of spend 20 years and get free medical and dental for you and your family. Military recruiters already get a bad rap, and now this. we had a contract with the government

  315. Well you can all Thank your President and Obama Care and his wonderful Administration for such a wonderful kick — military benefit….not only for the disabled veteran, retiree, reserve and the active duty. I was hurt in Iraq in 2008-2009 and should have had my 20 years in Aug. 2011, but NO I am sitting in Limbo. Post Tramatic War Syndrome, MRSA, Bad Back Bad Knee, Sleep Apnea, They sent my unit home and put me on a public airline with staph that contaminated a whole airplane that ran down my leg onto an airplane seat, in an airplane restroom. The whole plane was contaminated by the time I got off, wonder how Congress and the Senate would feel about that one!!!! Bunch of Idiots and yet they won't give me my pension or my disability!!! Been sitting in Limbo for months now….Being tossed from one person to the next. Our wonderful Air Force Reserves…yea we serve a Great Country but they certainly don't serve Us!!!!

  316. Margarita Santana | May 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    Mr. Gates in reading over your bio I see you served in the U.S. Air Force as an officer. I also read that you have had nice jobs where you have been taken care of as well as the needs of your family I’m guessing this will continue until forever. I just hope you are not one of those leaders that stepped on others toes to get ahead. I read some of the comments before my post and can’t help but think when will it stop when will the government stop doing as they will with the military. 1. You want to cut down on troops but when there is a disaster weather at home or overseas the first words out of the nations mouth be call in the troops, (do you think it is okay if the troops leave their families behind to fend for themselves when they to are dealing with the same disaster?) 2. Why is it that every time there are cuts in the budget the first thing said is cut military spending? When and E7 retires after 24 years they get about $2,400.00 a month before taxes how much will you get upon retirement, lets switch. 3. Why is it the that Afghan after 10 yrs still need more training? I received 10 days before going out there what is wrong with this picture. Where are our priority? What is really going on? I can tell you where we need to cut back. It is not with our military. Its ALL OF YOU sitting at the hill maintaining two households and your expenditures which need to be cut back. So Mr. Gates while you are thinking about raising rates for medical while you are sitting in that nice comfee chair think about our TROOPS and all they are putting on the line so you can continue to succeed and you enjoy that free medical care you continue to have and ask yourself are they really getting paid what they deserve REALLY. Mr. Gates in case you didn’t notice our retirement pay is not the lottery ticket to the million it is the ticket to homelessness in case you lost count. God Bless our troops that have given their life for us, served, still out there and those still yet to go. You know what Mr. Gates if I had to go back out with my brothers and sister for that little check I would because they are my brother and sisters at heart and my daughter would say to be as she has many times before “Mom you have to do what you have to do.” This is not just because of medical fees this is for every knife you all continue to stick in our backs as are troops continue to walk to the front lines to serve.

  317. Gates is just another useless bureaucrat. O'bama is in the boat too. If i had to do it all over there is no way I would go fight for my country.

  318. Richard1988 | May 15, 2011 at 2:51 am |

    H.R. 1540 – fy12 national defense authorization bill chairman's mark

    "Section 701 – Annual Enrollment Fees for Certain Retirees and Dependants

    This section would express the sense of Congress that career members of the uniformed services and their families make extraordinary sacrifices to protect freedom for all Americans and that those sacrifices consitute pre-payment for health care during retirement. This section would also limit any annual increase in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees to the amount equal to the percentage by which retiree pay is increased beginning October 1, 2012.

    704 – Transition Enrollment of Uniformed Services Family Heath Plan Medicare-Eligible Retirees to TRICARE for Liffe.

    This section would prohibit a Medicare eligible military retiree from enrolling in the managed care program of a designated provider after September 30, 2012."

  319. I do understand that medical fees increase and have since the conception of Tricare. But what of before tricare? Tricare and insurance for medical was not required of the Military and their retirees.. "The Free Medical for Serving"

    Then Clinton's got their health care reform….now it costs the military retiree and the government pays for the active duty!!!! Taking back the "free for life after retirement of Medical benefits"…. This set the precedent!! cost for medical care..
    NOW — too many military associations are getting on board for increasing the fee for Tricare of military retirees….so now won't the government have to pay more fore the active duty that have Tricare?
    But again…..any increase is unacceptable and to tie it to any index is wrong. Then to talk about increasing it by retired rate/rank is stupid. Each individual gets medical issues/problems – whether a retired E-5 or a retired O-5.
    Back to my soap box……stop this cost increase for all retirees – we already have to go on Medicare part B at 65 (which by the way is an increase in cost). All military organizations should not sell out as has "MOAA" to agreeing to any increase.

  320. Guys and Gals (fellow veterans). This is the text of an e-mail I sent to the Prsident, my Senators and Representatives. Please feel free to take it, edit as you see fit and send it to the bums in DC that are supposed to represent you!!! Do it now, do it often. I re-edit, re-send it every couple of days! If we bury them in e-mail, maybe someone will hear us! HELP!!!

    As you are likely aware, on May 12, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved its version of the $690 Billion FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540).

    They dropped a provision to freeze TRICARE fees for another year and replaced it with one that allows increases for FY 2012, but adds “protections” against “disproportional future increases”. I suspect that any “protections” are, as usual, not worth the cost of the ink it took to write them, and that “disproportional” will be easily rationalized and will not slow-down the continued rape, abuse, and erosion of military retiree pensions and benifits.

    Also, at issue is the Subcommittee’s recommendation that DOD’s Military Retiree Health Care program have a 1 year moratorium on any increase in beneficiary health care costs. Healthcare has been a prime motivator to accept the rigors of 20 plus years of military service, hardships of family separations, and the personal sacrifice of life or limbs. Please exclude any proposed changes considered for TRICARE.

    More important, the bill adds a statement that Congress recognizes that career military people pay the bulk of the premiums up-front and in-kind, through decades of service and sacrifice. In recognition of this, the bill language specifies that the percentage fee increase in future years my not exceed the percentage increase in military retired pay.

    Another bad bill and another sad day for america. With all the billions upon billions of tax-dollars stolen, thrown away, and wasted by my elected officials, the best congress can come up with is to once again target military retirees! If that’s the best you’ve got, you should all be thrown out of office!

    It is my hope that you as my elected official hear my voice and those voices of your fellow constituents AND agree that it is time to recognize that military retirees and disablied veterians have already paid for their health care many times over through their sacrifice, and that imposing TRICARE fees was a bad idea to start with. Increasing those fees, is, in short, criminal!

    The bulk of our out-of-touch elected officials have never served in the military, and surely the majority of them have never been deprived of much of anything. Many of these “American Royalty” as they are refered to by some, are WELL payed, pampered, and protected. Unlike many military retirees, most politicians have never had to miss out on home, family, friends, holidays, etc… in austure, harsh, or sometimes hostile circumstance, and often far from US shores. Those who “serve” (sic) on capitol hill risk neither life, nor limb, pain nor discomfort. And they certainly do not volunteer their youth and vitality to serve their nation for low pay, and a diminishing promise of future compensation based on repeated broken promises made by political oportunists!

    Yet that is where many military retirees find themselves today. Many, like myself, are now aging, possibly sick or disabled, and though still technically of “working age”, are unable to find decent work. Rather, we must rely on a small retirement, which is constantly subject to political whims and tides, and grows smaller (in real terms) each year.

    Then to add insult to injury those same political oportunists, those same individuals who have no problem casting aside the promises made by their predessors, will add insult to injury by setting the stage for annual increases in TRICARE “health insurance” premiums.

    Shame on all those who allow this lie, this fakery, this slap in the face to military veterians and retirees to go forward!

    Shame on those who would shrug their shoulders and say “Gee, I tried to stop it, I voted against it”, having done so after determining they could safely do so politically, and let it pass! Essentially do what is usually done in Washington, little or nothing good! Shame on you all!

    I strongly suggest that when H.R. 1540 is brought to the House floor for vote that you sponsor amendments, that would correct this continuing failure of our Government to recognize and honor the service rendered by those who have defended and \ or now defend our great country.

  321. Why sirs every time things get tight in Washington with your budgets, is it always the Military retirees who shore everything up for you? We fight your battles to keep this country safe, we stand on the borders protecting against foreign threats, and yet this does not seem to be enough. When you have served 20+ years in the military, and then another 20+ years in some form of civilian life, indirectly serving this country, and this is what the retirees get to look forward to…why don't you just take it all and let us die, broke and broken!

    The senators and congressmen, most who have never served a day in the military, get all the perks, free healthcare, and great retirement benefits, plus Social Security! What is wrong with this country? What did the military man and his family do to deserve to be treated this way? What was in the beginning we no longer can count on. It is called reneging on a contract. And it is not right. What is going to happen to the servicemen of today’s wars, when they cannot work or hold jobs, and you take away their only resource for medical care? It sure does not say much for the people we have elected to make the right decisions for us, the constituents. I feel you cannot begin to come up with a better solution, so for some reason you feel the retirees should bail you out. Well we are not in your military now, so leave us alone. Let us keep what we have given our lives to, and rightly earned the benefits we signed up for. How much more do you think we can give?

  322. Wow!!!! really Free Health care. LOL we all have to pay in some way shape or form. ITS NOT FREE bought to you by the almighty TAX PAYER you and me all of us. Really

  323. All Life time members of NCOA must pull together….NOW

  324. homer gonzales | June 14, 2011 at 12:19 am |

    we are being raped by the current politicians. they sit on their butts day in and day out, they don't put their lives on the line, they are not separated from their loved ones for 12 months at a time in a war zone. they and their families enjoy all the benefits that THEY voted for themselves. they will have free or mostly free medical care for the rest of their lives. gates is a fool and an idiot who knows nothing about the military except what the generals tell him. we can complain all day long and watch our benefits taken from us and especially those that are maimed for life, whether mentally or phsyically or both. we are a very powerful people. we can do one of two things. sit and complain or VOTE THEM OUT IN 2012!!!!! we have elections every two years and we have the power to VOTE THEM ALL OUT IN 2012 AND AFTER!!!!! let's take our country back, stop this insanity that the politicians have created. THEY created this mess, so now they want to raise our taxes and cut our benefits to fix their mess, starting with odumbo on down. i have no respect for him or his henchmen. none whatsoever. and whoever is elected, congressmen or senators and the president, those who elected after these imbeciles, if they do the same, try to cut our benefits, VOTE THEM ALL OUT TOO. we have the power to do this, but in order to accomplish this we must unite and be one as we are when in the military. we have to be strong as we have been when we were serving our great country, now we must be strong again and VOTE THEM ALL OUT IN 2012. we need fresh minds and politicians that will listen to their constituents. the people told obama not to sign his obamacare medical bill, but he didn't listen and did as he wanted. he wanted to give the military a 1.7% pay raise. that is an insult to our young men and women that are in harms way and anyone serving our country. UNITE MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN ARMS AND VOTE THEM ALL OUT IN 2012!!!! and tell those that are voted in if they do the same, have selfserving attitudes, that they too will be voted out next election. SO EITHER VOTE THEM OUT IN 2012 OR QUIT YOUR COMPLAINING BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. we the people, have the power to get them out of office and tak our country back as was meant by our constitution.

  325. AECS (AW)RET | June 14, 2011 at 10:05 am |

    IF YOU DIDNT/DONT VOTE SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP……You are getting just what you deserve….NOTHING….
    I was stationed on the KENNEDY-CV67 , then Senator Bill Cohen,Maine,later SEC DEF. come aboard and spoke with us.Said the MILITARY VOTER has/could have the biggest impact on politicians IF THEY VOTED.Then he went on to say as a result of US NOT VOTING the politicians DO NOT CONCIDER US A THREAT TO THEM…WE/YOU can make the differance and have the most to gain/lose IF WE VOTE.

  326. Wyatt Orendorf | June 17, 2011 at 3:54 am |

    The US Army spent $7 million in 2010 to sponsor a car in NASCAR and has a signed contract with Stewart-Haas racing to put its logo on a car for 2011.

  327. Wyatt Orendorf | June 17, 2011 at 3:59 am |

    According to the Department of Defense's budget materials on their website, the combined military recruitment and advertising budget is $1,407,100,000 ($1.4 billion). Here is a break down by branch of the military:
    ARMY $854,146,000
    NAVY $297,141,000
    MARINE CORPS $123,465,000
    AIR FORCE $132,349,000

    As with all things though it depends on how you define things. This is only looking at the specific line item for "Recruiting and Advertising" which falls under a larger category of "Recruiting and Other Training and Education". If you add up this larger category (which also includes CIVILIAN EDUCATION AND TRAINING, EXAMINING, JUNIOR ROTC, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY, and OFF-DUTY AND VOLUNTARY EDUCATION), the total is $2.8 billion.

  328. Wyatt Orendorf | June 17, 2011 at 4:10 am |

    There are roughly 190 countries in the world and we give financial aid to about 150 of those countries. If the Sec Def had a set he would tell his master in chief they can start cutting military benefits just as soon as we cut all recruiting budgets and supporting third world countries that don’t even like us.

  329. Mike Ward | June 19, 2011 at 7:40 am |

    You need to pay attention to what everyone is saying – you need to stick to the promises you made us when we enlisted! We and our families strugled financially to make it on small military pay and did so and now what thanks do we get? These congressmen and Senators don't get it. Their sorry behinds don't have a clue what it means to "keep your word" or make a sacrifice for anything. If they did they would not be looking at cutting any benefits for people who volunteer to do what most of them would not do or are allow their own children to do! They don't have to worry about paying ofr anything – they get ENORMOUS SALARIES & FREE BENEFITS FOR LIFE! What is this world coming to? Downfall – that is what is coming for us all…

  330. Sassy Sally | June 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    I understand all about benefits, and I would not want the alternative!! However, on another note: I would love to know why it is a Spouse cannot get half of his retirement when he passes? If I can get half of his Social Security, then why can't I get half of his Navy retirement? If I were to get that, then I could afford the raises in Tricare.
    Benefits are going to keep going up, and at least we will have great coverage, and it is still cheeper than if you were out there trying to get your own insurance coverage.

  331. Deborah McKinney | June 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm |

    This is a comment from a retired military wife…is this the FREE Medical that was promised my husband when he retired from the Navy??? We better think long and hard about WHO we put in office from now on…sure Health Care is expensive…but so are the benefits that all the Congress gets…do you see them giving anything up? Not on YOUR LIFE!!
    Thanks for nothing…and by the way…why don't you just keep throwing money away…so you can steal some more from the retirees!!

  332. Part 1
    Why do we have this problem of increased cost and reduced benefits?

    I say it relates to the failure of Congress to take effective action to STOP illegal aliens from entering our country from Mexico. Those in power, our president and the liberal democrats who desire to increase those willing to vote for them by allowing poorly educated Mexican illegals to enter and stay here, They pay little or no taxes, get food stamps, free education in our public schools, free medical service by using the highest cost medial service available created by our stupid laws that force and allow them into using hospital emergency rooms. Being politically correct is pushing us into the poor house and it has to stop!

  333. Part 2
    Proof of the pudding? Check out California’s debit problem where a huge part relates to illegal immigrants. California has other problems creating monetary debit, like unfunded union pensions to name just one killer. But the worst is the illegal aliens living there who have openly demonstrated that they feel that California really belongs to their home country, Mexico and display their anger by flying the Mexican flag in their demonstrations while burning the American flag, the flag we military service members have defended over the years with their lives, as evidenced by our full to over flowing Veterans Cemeteries.

  334. Part 2 continued

    It makes me mad as hell. Kick their butts out. If they feel they must be here, there are legal avenues for entry. Don’t tell me we need their help picking crops in California. The environmentalists have shut down America’s bread basket in the valley north of LA. Why? Because of some fish, lizard, or something similar claiming it is being endangered! So what, the number of species that disappear each year is staggering and if all so endangered were included in that act, we too would soon become members of a missing species. With farming in the valley near death, so is the need for the pickers, so that excuse is now gone, so…. Adios!!

  335. Part 3
    The problem is rampant across America, but could and can be corrected. Every state needs to passes legislation such as Missouri did that resulted in the state now being free of illegal residents (Mexicans). There are none and Missouri tax payer money is used to benefit Missourian’s and the progressive federal government still refuses to take the needed action in order to gain the potential for non-citizen votes. But the “Show Me State” is showing the way guys and gals. There are certainly enough retired military, soon to retire folks and potential retirees to attack this problem by voting this problem out of the White House and Congress. Reducing promised health care to our military in order to feed and provide free health care for those that do not belong here has to stop. Get their asses back across that border and declare war on the next ones trying to invade our country. This is Our country not theirs!!
    Join me in the fight and vote ‘em out.

  336. It is easy to say cut retiree benifits and increase their medical payments when you are easily making a 6 figure salary, sittine in a plush chair and make life and death decisions for military personnel fighting for America's safety and freedom. This is unbelivable. Just as the President has tried and so far failed at destroying the economic freedom of the individual American, the Secretary of Defense is trying to place an heiver burden on those who have served their country and retired with what was America's promise to them. Thank you Mr. Secretary.

  337. Yeah, I retire in October with 40 years of service. My tricare will increase from
    197.50 to over 1500 a month. So much for Retirement.
    After taxes, insurance (dental and Medical), VA; Where's the check!

  338. Mr. Gates is up for anything that will make him appear to be doing his job well as long as it doesn't touch HIS damned wallet! He is a coward in my way of thinking as I am sure he never in his life put himself in harms way. You sir are a fine example of the corrupt, cheating, lying, elitist, failing government officials we have these days. I won't because it is illegal and I can't, but for your actions I would like to take a major league swing at your head with a baseball bat. I pray that God wrecks your life and your families lives now and when you leave the office you hardly deserve to be in. I'd love to bring back to life one of my DEAD soldier comrades and let you take his place, or hers, six feet under ground, and NOT at Arlington. The desert is a good place for your dead body!

  339. take a walk in our shoes before you are so willing cut.
    And for the idiot talking about Gi Bennies for school, What was your Rate/Job area. Bean Counter in Rice ville. Some of us did not have the ability to go to school during our time of defense. And if we were lucky enough to get out with all our limbs. We found jobs that little did we know would not be around now due to the economy. Dig your hole in the ground a little deeper, crap is coming out of your mouth.

  340. And who negotiated a contract with Delta Dental for retirees, that allows Delta Dental to keep adjusting their premiums upward, regardless of the economy. We haven't gotten any pay increases so really they shouldn't either!

  341. s,f, pangerl | November 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    i do believe we can comapare GATES to a hydromatic okie!!

    a shiftless son of a bitch

  342. sandra dorsey | January 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    ID like to know WHY ALL the already rich politicians havent taken pay and pension cuts, healthcare/dental care cuts themselves. Lead by example..uh huh, if we ALL went by the USA politicians, we, the average WORKING taxpayers would be homeless and/or in jail. I say.>FIRE all the politicians..who needs em.

  343. DOD is telling service personnel that if they are eligible for any type of “disability payment”, they cannot get their SIP payment, or they will have to pay it back. Excuse me but their disability came from fighting and defending their country and they have earned the right to this money. Further, the DOD’s one-time payment is for “Oh, we’re sorry for screwing you over so we’ll give you a percentage of your “served” time, after we retain 25% for “taxes” of course. This payment is also due them. They have worked the time and have earned the payment. People, this is not the country your grandfathers and fathers fought for. It’s becoming the one they fought against. Saying for 2012 “You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out!”

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