DoD Budget Plan Takes Aim at TRICARE

The proposed 2015 DoD budget could kill TRICARE Prime and increase out-of-pocket medical expenses for dependents and retirees.

Much of the first reports on the proposed 2015 defense budget didn’t necessarily focus on the details or specific areas to be cut. Many of details won’t be available until March 4th. However, there are some details available on one of the most significant benefits areas to be hit – TRICARE.

TRICARE, originally named for its three levels of health care coverage (Prime, Extra, and Standard), has been providing affordable healthcare coverage for military dependents and retirees for nearly 20 years. But, according to columnist Tom Philpott’s recent Military Update, the DoD is proposing to merge the three options into a single fee-for-service insurance option, similar to the current Standard option.

The proposed changes to TRICARE would not affect active-duty servicemembers access to free healthcare, but their dependents and working-age military retirees would face higher costs to include a share of medical expenses and perhaps a new annual enrollment fee, set initially at $285 for individuals and $569 for families.

Beneficiaries could see lower costs if they use military treatment facilities or “preferred” care providers who offer military discounts. However, the plans include charging retirees a new co-pays for using  on-base treatment facilities. New co-pays also would be set for military families and retirees who use emergency rooms inappropriately for routine care.

Philpott reports that TRICARE Prime would likely end as defense health officials continue to argue that Prime is too costly to operate for the military.

According to Philpott, beneficiaries 65 and older would continue to have access to TRICARE for Life, but, they would face a new enrollment fee. It might be set at one percent of military retired pay but capped so as not to exceed $300 a year.

On the upside, many believe that most of the DoD’s proposed benefit cuts are not likely to get passed Congress.  The question is, which ones will?

Stay tuned as more details will be available March 4 when the budget is formally rolled-out.

For more details on Pay Caps, commissary Cuts and BAH Reductions, read Tom Philpott’s full article.

 

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, 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.

221 Comments on "DoD Budget Plan Takes Aim at TRICARE"

  1. So much for the promise of free health care for life.

  2. What really gets me is the fact that they include ALL retirees in these damned things. No matter if your a WWII, Korea or VN retiree, they just lump everybody in these cuts/fees.

    The people retiring today or in the past 5 years are pulling a lot more in pay than us older retirees, we even missed 2 years of COLA remember that.

    I started with 1300 a month when I retired, the same rank/TIS today retires with over 3 grand a month, close to 4K per month.

    If they really need to change things OK so be it, but lets pro rate these things for folks that entered back in 42 or 50, or 64.

    And that includes this retiree dental program.

  3. Active duty "free" care? That is so untrue! My family and I lived in a remote locations on and off while on active duty from 1982-2007. TRICARE (and CHAMPUS) paid about 18-20% of family and my health care in many remote locations. Reasoning? I lived about 200 from two different Air Force Bases, so even in an emergency, I could have used those facilities for my family. Took me almost four years after I transferred to pay off those bills. Then I got stationed at a larger military area and still had to pay for healthcare because hospital or clinic had to "consult out" due to shortage of medical staff. Individuals that write these articles need to ensure facts are correct before release. "Free" healthcare for service personnel in remote, "out of pocket" or even if large installations are nearby and that service is unavailable, is an out and out fallacy.

  4. Michael Hounshell | February 28, 2014 at 9:44 am |

    And the BS continues for future retirees and current retirees, to include their dependents. Lets save America from a deficit on the backs of miltary veterans, active duty and dependents. I see the draft coming back, because nobody is going to volunteer for nothing.

  5. " Many of details won’t be available until March 4th."

    Another fine example of Ready, Fire, Aim.

  6. The losers are always the troops – and congress knows that. My problem is with DOD, they don't really seem to care about the promised benefits, they see dollar signs. Any cuts we take, they should take, and we will see how easy it is to make a dicision.

  7. What really frosts me is the fact that most of these morons have never served a day anywhere in the military. How could they possibly understand what we've been through?I sure miss the "old guard" who would put us first and ensure that we received what we have earned.Yes,earned,worked for,bled for and sometimes paid the ultimate price.They have to stop balancing the books on the backs of those who sacrificed so much. All we are asking for is to give us what was promised to us. DBF!!!59-78

  8. BS as usual. Screw these politicians. They will be going home shortly. They better get that budget right or the US Gov't will have more lawsuits than Carter has liver pills.

  9. "Philpott reports that TRICARE Prime would likely end as defense health officials continue to argue that Prime is too costly to operate for the military."

    So ObamaCare is cheaper.

    BLUF – Give us the coverage that we were promised. You can call it whatever you like.

  10. Their is no such thing as a promised benefit for serving your country anymore. Every time the politicians need to balance the budget, they always seem to attempt to do it on the backs of Military Veterans and their families. This is a disgrace to our military veterans! I don't see how see how those politicians can sleep at night that endorse this kind of shameful politics. We will be lucky to have any future COLA, education benefits and medical benefits left after the way the politicians are constantly eroding what we were promised to have for life, if you made the military a career. How many politicians making these life changing decisions for military veterans and their families have ever even served in the military. Do they know what it is like to put yourself in harms way, leave family for months on end, miss anniversaries, birthdays, holidays and in some cases funerals of next of kin due to deployments/military requirements. Any politician that would endorse the aforementioned behavior, I would never endorse as a politician or vote for reelection. Know if your elected politicians are endorsing any bill to cut into your military benefits and consider then if they are worth re-electing for another term. I THINK NOT!

  11. Dave Garrison | February 28, 2014 at 10:41 pm |

    Hagel, the latest hired gun by the administration.This guy would sell out his own mother, father, brother, sister.

  12. This 2015 Budget Bill is being written by Paul Ryan. He is a republican. He is the same guy that crafted the bill that cut MIlitary retiree and Disabled Veteran cola raises. The republicans aren't our friends anymore. It pains me to say this but it is the Tea Party republicans that are attacking the Veterans.

  13. Don Campas | March 1, 2014 at 8:41 am |
  14. retired infantryman | March 1, 2014 at 10:17 am |

    Ok so my current annual RETIREE TRICARE PRIME Family plan cost about $550 a year and will go up to $569 a year? What is the big deal?

  15. So we're supposed to trust and believe them that Tri-Care Prime is too costly for the Govt? Well if I remember, and I do, not long ago we were told the govt wanted everyone on Prime because it was their most economical option. This is just step 1 to migrating All of us to Obamacare and then soon ALL Obamacare beneficiaries will be receiving care at what we know as Military Hospitals. Just another lie being exposed. It's NOT about taking care of the military, but taking care of the illegal aliens because they are a population of easy votes!

  16. AL Retired CPO | March 3, 2014 at 7:35 am |

    I would not necessarily agree at what is being proposed if they paid retirees based upon their total pay vice basic pay. The allowances are not calculated the same as the benefits are used in calculating effective pay. Let some of these politicians survive on military pay and then military retirement based upon only basic pay. They often fail to remember we obligate 20 years of 24 hours per days, 7 days per week of our lives to protect their asses. These benefits are why we made the obligations. If change is needed, then change the future, not the past.

  17. Folks, the courts have said that any promise made by recruiters or others, have no validity. If it isn't in your enlistment contract or law, not a valid obligation. All we really have is the power of the ballot box to retain what remains of our military pay and benefits. Vote!

  18. Sandhills | March 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm |

    The real "devil in the details" will be finding doctors who will offer "military discounts" – and I doubt any discounts offered voluntarily by any "patriotic doctor" will be anywhere close to the markdown current medical providers are forced to eat currently by accepting TriCare. You will see a drastic reduction in medical providers willing to accept TriCare at all. Waiting lines for those close enough to use a military medical facility, and higher costs for even routine visits (heaven help those with serious medical conditions – with substantial costs for any pharmaceutical requirements).
    No, not "death panels" as such, but what is the difference if you need expensive medical care that Tricare won't cover?

  19. bdcorvette | March 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm |

    Let us not forget that the weasels who are making these decisions did not (with very few exceptions) put in even a day in uniform.

    "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

  20. The only promise Capitol Hill keeps is raising our taxes and their pay…

  21. Michael D. | March 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm |

    As long as the President and Congress use the same system as me, I am ok. As long as the President has served 27 years of active duty and Congress like me, then yea change it. But if they haven't walked in our shoes, then hell no.

  22. Any changes to Tricare need to be grandfathered in. Anyone who has retired as of a near future date, say 1 Jan 2016, should be the ones to bear the new changes. Past retirees should not be affected by any of the proposed changes except for perhaps an inflation adjustment to the annual Tricare enrollment fee.

  23. USAF Fst Sgt Retired | March 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm |

    Military Retirees worst enemy—DOD. I am so tired of writing Congress every year but I guess we have no choice. I will vote only for those that support us regardless of Political party. Lumping all retirees under age 65 into the "Working Age Military Retiree" group without looking at their health and ability to work and supplement their retirement is typical DOD. When an Administration uses the military as a piece on a chess board you know we are trouble. In their eyes the military retiree is a burden. It makes me feel that some in government wish that we would just hurry up and die.

  24. You get what you vote for. You can blame the stars who want to get promoted, You can blame the civilians who are protecting there jobs and union benefits. remember it was an Air Force star who was behind the commissary proposal, No doubt the SESs and Air Force was behind this. I am sure the military officers association will say yes( LT Col ret making 4000 grand or more a month not counting VA disability. Bottom line its the Enlisted who get screwed especially the disabled Vet. What next push everybody in DOD into Obamacare that's not part the SEIU.

  25. They will hit us that are retired and the active duty personnel and their family so they can make damm sure theyget free medical and put money in there pockets
    They could care less about the military

  26. since I am over 70, and my wife works, I have Medicare (primary) and her work insurance (secondary). Tricare usually pays NOTHING, except possibly for prescriptions.
    I have been very tempted to just cancel our Tricare coverage, and save everybody the paperwork!

  27. If they are going to eliminate or severely shortcut my 'compensation', that is OK as long as they foot the bill for all the new expenses they are putting on me and my family. Go for it.

  28. Cookie Csc | March 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
  29. What about the medical retirees? Those that had to retire before they got to 20+ yrs

  30. I shouldn’t be surprised but here they go again, attacking the very people who have placed their lives on line for this country and then breaking their contract with us for Free medical care for the rest of our lives. I completely get that medical care is expensive… But we Vets (many of us) put aside our opportunities for large incomes to support our country. We lived meager lives, separated from our loved ones for months on end, endured the collapse of our families and relationships due to military demands, but enough is enough! We’re entitled to what was promised to us! As one poster stated… Grandfather these changes… Let today’s soldiers decide if they want to retire with the Military under these conditions. I for one did not agree to continue to this when I served my time!
    If our government wants to cut costs… Start by Stop giving illegal’s free medical and welfare! Put in place a FLAT National Tax on all goods and services where a portion of the tax goes straight into the Health and Welfare system. Yes this would be painful at first… But with a FLAT National Tax… even people getting paid UNDER the table would have to pay into the system they are so quick to reach over the table and take! I don’t care where people come from… so long as I don’t have to keep paying for them! I have my own family to feed and care for!

  31. Hardcider | March 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm |

    Okay, So i am in Tricare for Life. age 67. Yes i am blessed and make a lot of money after retirement. I have to have Medicare Part B to get the Tricare. My wife and i pay a total of $700 a month for Part B coverage. And now i may also pay an enrollment fee as well? Promises, Promises…..

  32. What they can't get thru the front door, they will try thru the back. The administration has been trying to reduce the retirement payment as an acceptable source to support funding the welfare state. Thus maintaining a large voting population that tend to back the Democratic Party. We have been viewed as a conservative voting population. He gives us lip service, then goes after us out of plain sight. It's doesn't matter if it is the cola or health care, it all comes out of our retirement. Our only defense is to keep them at bay is our collective united voice. Keep active and vote!

  33. Harry Barr | March 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm |

    Just another BETRAYAL of our NILITARY VETS & FAMILIES!!! NO DOUBT a plan by REPUBLICANS to FUCK OVER the U S MILITARY AGAIN!!! The SENATE REPUBLICANS , on 2-27-14. last Thursday, KILLED a BILL that would provide medical care for PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other medical and psych treatment. Also, training and education and other assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan troops and their families!! AGAIN we are told "you fought our wars, now GO FUCK YOURSELVES!!!" I will make it my mission to DEFEAT EVERY REPUBLICAN EVERYWHERE!!!Harry

  34. I spent two and a half hours on the phone this morning trying to get authorization to go to an urgent care clinic for an eye infection. I am enrolled in Tricare North but am currently traveling and find myself in Tricare South. I had to talk to both parties and it was a very convoluted process. The crazy thing is I could have gone to the emergency room without any authorization! I did not choose that option even though it would have been easier because I know it is more costly.

    I suspect that a large percentage of the increased cost of Tricare over the last ten years is a direct result of having to bring all of the National Guard and Reserve troops to a state of medical readiness as most of them probably did not have very good coverage in their civilian jobs. Add that to the cost of care for our returning troops and I think that is probably the lions share of the increase not families and retirees.

    Having said that, as a result of the ACA we are all more aware of the cost that our non-serving fellow citizens pay, and on the surface it would seem that we are not paying our fair share. However when you facter in the unique demands of military service and the promises that were made when we signed up it is a breach of faith with our members. We must be realistic in accepting some change as long as there is no degradation of the areas that are covered and the quality of care that we have come to expect.

  35. What can be said, congress has a GREED epidemic and their solution seems to always be take it out in the one that can ill afford it. Those of us who have no one to pour money into the pockets of the congressmen's as those of us will have to continue to endure it. We are fighting a war without ammo about the only thing left is to use your vote to get the bums out but sorry to say that this may not even work suppose we will have to live with this feeling of impotence

  36. gil black | March 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm |

    While it is still a bargain what happened to the contract we signed. While I do not remember the contract I do remember health care for life. After 40 years service I am now paying part B and another coverage. I watch all the Medicaid free bees and wonder. Look at all the fraud in the VA like PTSD and Agent Orange for people on ships off shore look at sleep apnea and all the other BS claims. @ million claims on the books and climbing. VA budget five times what it was 8 years ago 160 billion cut back those phony awards and you will save the retires expenses. PTSD for sexual undocumented harassment ect PTSD for clerks sailors and airmen in the rear you must be kidding.

  37. The attack ( I mean attack) military first when they have budget problem and they always create the problem and then they want to place it on our collective backs. If they are trying to make cuts within the military community there should be cuts across the board including those on entitlements-but you'll never hear of a suggested cut to those voters-they need them to keep their congressional seats.
    Active duty military, military retirees, family members and Social Security recipients need to remember what these "representatives" are trying to do to us and vote them out! We do not need them, they draw the pay and do nothing for the most part except complain about each there.

  38. Chief7doug | March 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm |

    I recommend anyone on active duty now with less than 10 years to give it up as soon as you can. Get out now.It is a rip off and getting worse all the time.
    .
    I hate to think that I recruited some young men and women in. I regret it. I was never a recruiter; just someone who thought it was the way to go. It is a good thing they no longer need me because I would not serve another day under any circumstances. Johnny Paycheck has the right song for this. I consider my 30 years of service a waste of my life.

  39. theoldsarge1 | March 3, 2014 at 6:33 pm |

    They don't really have to do this. There are other ways to find the money. Once again, like always, the active and retired military, seniors and the rest of the hard working peons take it in the shorts. I would not have too much of a problem making a few sacrifices. I wouldn't like it. No one does, but I would accept it as long as no one else was exempt. However, that is never the case. Will the politicians, who got us in this mess in the first place, slow down government spending? Will the politicians in Congress and State Legislatures cancel any of their phony fact finding junkets or perks? Will the President's czars and higher government officials make any sacrifices? Will the President cancel any of his vacations and golf outings? Will the countries that hate us stop getting their billions in foreign aid? Will the freeloaders, who refuse to work, take any cuts in their food stamps and welfare checks or be forced into community service? Will all the illegal aliens lose all their free-bees and get deported? I would bet the answer to those questions will be a very definite NO! If the President and Congress really wanted to make brownie points with the people, they would cancel all their perks, junkets, golf outings and vacations and also make some sacrifices in their pay and benefits. While they're at it, they could stop sending those billions to the countries that hate us. I guess that would be asking too much from typical do-as-we-say-and-not-as-we-do type of leaders. We need to fire all those old career politicians and elect all new people to send to Washington and establish term limits. We need bold people who aren't afraid to make the tough decisions no matter what the media says. Rude people who will fire the deadheads and make the freeloaders work for their living. Most of all they have to be young people because we have to be a young country again. If we get those kind of people we just may be able to make it. The history books are full of examples where the American People were able to put their differences aside and work together to solve problems. That was why we were on the winning side in two world wars. I am not saying anything new here. Just saying the things that need to be said over and over. I say re-elect no one. Fire them all. Just my two cents.

  40. "Remember this article from the Army Times about the Tricare surplus?

    DoD explains, defends health care surplus: Aug 12, 2012
    The Defense Department's top budget officer Wednesday defended Pentagon efforts to shift $708 million in health funding to other military budget accounts, saying the surplus money — the result of conservative cost projections made two years ago — cannot go to new initiatives or be saved for the future.

    The Pentagon came under fire from military advocacy groups this week after lawmakers revealed that defense officials want to use Tricare funds to cover unexpected budget needs such as increased transportation costs caused by Pakistan's shutdown of ground supply routes to Afghanistan and movement of an extra carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf.

    House Armed Services Committee members sent a letter to Defense Secretary Panetta July 24 asking for an explanation, given that the Pentagon has argued for the past two years that beneficiaries must bear more of their health care costs in order to sustain the benefit.

    DoD Comptroller Robert Hale and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson told reporters that the excess $708 million — 2 percent of Tricare's total private-care budget for the current fiscal year — resulted from lower-than-expected cost growth and "better management controls," including initiatives to promote mail-order pharmacy use and generic brands as well as rebate negotiations.

    By law, the funds must be used or will expire at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

    "The result is, we were about 2 percent high in terms of our estimate — a huge amount of money," Hale said. "But looked at another way, we were 98 percent correct. … Back over 10 years, we've often underestimated the amount, so we're not perfect, but 98 percent, two years in advance, that was an ‘A' when I went to school."

    The Pentagon must request permission from lawmakers to transfer funds between accounts, because the practice essentially alters spending allocations already approved by Congress.

    Last year, Congress approved $12 billion and $15 billion in transfers, including more than $500 million out of the Tricare account.

    This year, the Pentagon has sent about 25 reprogramming requests to Congress.

    In their letter to Panetta, House lawmakers questioned the new Tricare transfer request, given DoD's insistence this year that fees needed to be raised for retirees. Lawmakers also worry about research funding opportunities being lost.

    "We have concerns about this reprogramming request because we believe there are serious health issues that our military service members and military retirees are currently facing that are of the highest priority," wrote Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel panel.

    Hale and Woodson said DoD views the Tricare fee increases as a separate issue from the reprogramming request.

    They noted that at current spending rates, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the defense health budget, currently $53 billion for fiscal 2012, will rise to $65 billion in 2015 and $90 billion in 2030.

    Tricare fee increases are needed to "bend the curve" of these rising costs, they said.

    "From 2001 to 2012, the overall military health care budget went up 175 percent," Hale said. "I's that trend line that has caused us to look at issues like changing the Tricare fees as a way to reduce the growth in health care costs."

    Military advocacy groups such as the Military Officers Association of America and the National Association of the Uniformed Services expressed outrage that the Tricare account is showing a surplus when the Pentagon has argued that without fee increases, military readiness will be affected.

    "For months, the Defense Department has defended its proposals to punish beneficiaries with thousands [of dollars] a year in higher Tricare fees by claiming fast-rising Tricare costs are ‘eating us alive,'" retired Vice. Adm. Norb Ryan, president of MOAA. "But the reprogramming memo the Pentagon just sent to Congress indicates these claims were flatly untrue and DoD leaders should have known it."

    In response to the House letter, the Pentagon has briefed lawmakers and is working toward a solution, Hale said, adding that he expects Congress to respond to the request within a week.

    In May, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would block any reprogramming requests from the Pentagon unless he received a detailed report on all such transfers over the past two years.

    The chairmen and ranking minority-party members of the House and Senate armed services committees and defense appropriations subcommittees all must approve such requests."

  41. QUEEN RILEY | March 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm |

    SHAME SHAME SHAME THIS COUNTRY IS NOT WHAT IT USE TOO BE. MY HUSBAND JOINED THE MILITARY IN 1961 AND SERVED 20 YEARS AND THEY MADE A LOT OF -PROMISES THAT THEY DID NOT KEEP.

  42. If veterans today started talking to as many young people about the trading of there youth for a hollow promise and we are a testament to the current government lies, think of the forced changes in policies that could be brought about from our young people not enlisting.

  43. Lets all put a picture of Obuma and a picture of our favorite Congressional jackass on a dart board and start having some fun.

  44. Navy Chief Retired | March 3, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  45. I would like to know who at the DoD continues to try and take these benefits that we were promised in return for our service. They need to be named, they are lower than any of our enemies, and more dangerous. Let us know who they are.

  46. retiredairforce | March 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm |

    Meanwhile millions including illegal aliens (who already get free health care including chemotherapy, dialysis and organ transplants) will get free Obamacare subsidies and welfare, wic, food stamps, other social services and tax breaks. Priorities, what priorities?

  47. Simply put – scumbags looking to undermine the morale – across the force, while supporting the bigger scumbag.

  48. you have got to be kidding me? hosed one way or the other. someone in washington feels the working age retiree has got it made, wrong answer, nancy, who uses airforce jets for her and her family with certain drinks, and us retirees are getting the psa test with out cream. russia is bout to start a war and who they going to call, dont call me, i on vacation with nancy.

  49. this is obamas Idea hegal suppourts this

  50. I am a retired National Guard Soldier who was promised many good things at the time I enlisted. Now that I have reached that golden year that I and my wife could benefit from those promises those elected officials, of which many has never served day one in our Armed Services, to include the present President, dictate and cut those benefits that encourage U. S. Citizens to enlist and put their lives on the line, if need be so we may continue to enjoy the freedoms we have and have had for many, many years. Our government officials want the job but they do not want to keep our military forces at a level that can defend our own shores if need be. I joined during the draft period and I really think the draft is what needs to be restored but even with the benefits being cut, cut, and cut even then the draft would not work. The good thing with the draft is it gives men and women an opportunity to learn a good job and many times many of these people make the military a career. As someone stated earlier, our self-centered congress women and men can continue to give themselves a raise, have health insurance that cannot be offered to everyday citizens or our military personnel, retired or active and they expect everything to be smooth as silk. If these folk would stop giving money away to other countries, money that this nation does not have, bring our Service people home to protect our homeland all this cutting would not have to take place. We need more people in Congress who knows what it is like and what it means to be a United States Service Woman or man and surly that should be one of the requirements in order to become the Commander-in-Chief. Said enough, Good evening.

  51. You need to stop all this BS. Healthcare was free until 1995 the year I retired, and Tri-Care started. You were not getting anything before all those years.
    Yet, someone sits back on their read ends thinking perhaps we can save or push all on to Obamacare, stop this crap, and no PC ness from me you bunch of nuts. You know maybe we should start a march on Washington, hell evertbody else does (free speech) etc.Enough enough enough scumfaces.

  52. Dollydawg | March 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm |

    Instead of cutting Tricare and other military benefits why don't our politicians quit trying to police the world, putting us in armed conflicts. Has anyone besides me ever noticed that it is politicians that cause wars?

  53. Obumer's way of thanking the troops and spreading the wealth!

  54. I am an Army retiree's widow. I live on Social Security but too young for Medicare. I don't mind paying a reasonable yearly premium but can't afford for other costs to be raised. It's the only benefit I have, as we didn't take SGLI & my husband died of a brain tumor when he was 49 (after serving his country for 20 years).

    I am also appalled to read that Tricare has had a surplus & they still want to raise co-pays & premiums! The DoD needs a reality check.

  55. Karl Willis | March 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm |

    Here we go again – one crisis to the next, when will the bleeding stop for our military veterans! We have bled enough with out the parasites sucking our benefits dry! So much for promises, treat your people like crap it comes back in spades…go after the pork, not the vetreans!

  56. Leroy Driffill | March 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm |

    THEY NEED TO SCRUB USELESS MILITARY CONTRACTOR PROGRAMS AND LEAVE US ALONE, WE EARNED WHAT WE RECEIVE.

    They need to look in their backyards and clear out useless programs that piss off billions of defense dollars, just to pay big dollars to defense contractors for these useless programs. Look at all the waste in Afganistan, Iraq, billions of dollars spent on blowing up stuff and us rebuilding it, or build something and then not utilize it, waste, fraud, and abuse is huge in the defense sector.
    We earned every benefit we are given, so don't continue taking it from us. We will remember when elections come.

  57. Here we go again…attacking our benefits while providing free medical care for those who wish not to work and pay taxes but rather live off the government. I paid for my health care through 25 hard years of deployments and many other sacrafices…enough is enough politicians you need to leave the military alone and provide us the benefits we were promised. Stop treating us as if we worked for Corporate America.

  58. Roberta Lumsdon | March 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
  59. Has there been any discussion about changing federal civilian employee health benefits, raising their fees or prorating their costs based on their GS level? If not, is that because the Government doesn't want to rile the AFGE union?

  60. One thing all current military, retired military, and veterans should remember, DO NOT TRUST THE PROMISES OF YOUR GOVERNMENT OR THE CONGRESS. The will tell you anything and then when they are gone the new folks do not keep the promises made by earlier congresses or presidents. As American Indians used to say, "They speak with forked tongue." Wonder when food stamp recipients will have to pay for their stamps, and others will have to pay for their freebies, including ophones. And, seniors should be aware that the taxes on their Social Security will probably be going up. The commander in chief and hagel should be ashamed that they are breaking the many promises made in the past. But, lying and broken promises are the story of this administration.

  61. spouse of a young disabled vet. | March 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
  62. Cliff Conrad | March 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm |

    I live in an area that only excepts Standard. I already pay outrageous amounts of out of pocket expenses. I can't use my employers coverage because they deem tri-care as my primary, and tri-care deems them as primary, and nothing ever gets paid. I use the VA as much as I can but they won't cover everything. I was promised free care for life when I signed up, and when I retired I wasn't given the real scoop about retired Tri-care.

    I've contacted my Senate representative, and get no straight answers. It seems like this subject is a very sensitive subject on Capital Hill, and no one wants to stand up fight for us retired vets. Damn to all of them. I hope one day they will no longer be allowed free coverage at our military hospitals in DC, and that they will have to use normal Doctors and hospitals like the rest of us have to.

  63. George Mayl | March 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm |

    If I see any representatives in Colorado supporting this or not supporting veterans, I will do all in my power to make them look like the jerks they are……..period! I hope veterans/retirees in other states follow.

  64. I beginning to wonder if their real goal is to perhaps "force" Military members to forego TRICARE in favor of OBAMACARE mainly so the HHS can get THEIR numbers up in order to support the 2 million who signed up in MEDICADE???

  65. Joe Budda | March 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm |

    This is so unbelieveable that these assholes aren't cutting any of thier benefits. I think we need to follow the medevil times, nothing for the poor, except taxes and dying and everything for the warlords or casting lords

  66. enid Perry | March 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm |

    My dad retired from the Army with 25+ yrs in 1976. I retired from the Air Force in 2010 with 28 yrs of service. He was Enlisted throughout his career. I was Enlisted for 15 & an Officer for 13. I find it extremely disheartening that my brothers & sisters of the Armed Forces are now pitted against one another for any reason, let alone health care. I have now witnessed during my father’s time as well as my own the lies & deceptions of those that govern the services. When we are recruited or Drafted, as many were, we are brazenly told fibes of free health care for life for ourselves & our families. Likewise while in uniform we are encouraged to through camaraderie & training to have each others backs. Our threeb branches of government are allowed to treat us like crap because We allow it. Instead of those of us that served belittling & fighting one another our anger should be directed at them! The liars we put in office that so blatantly turn their backs on us when there are no more wars for us to lay our lives down for. It matters not how much $$ you make, what you are or retired, nor what branch you pledged you fidelity. What matters is that as time goes by & our economy worsens, WE that chose or were chosen to place ourselves in harms way, to leaven our youth, leave our families at home & sometimes friends on the battlefield are not fighting one another butb those that believe promises are meant to be broken. It leaves a sourb taste in my mouth & overshadows ALL that I believe when I see that we must continue to battle & fight for promised benefits that we have ALL Earned!

  67. S. E. Ehlers | March 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm |

    Much as I agree with most of the comments here and will never vote for another incombent politician (haven't for many years), in frustration, I did find the below form (backside (pun intended), which I signed many times) and the fine print says it all;

    DD Form 4/1 Reverse, MAY 85

    Section C
    # 9
    b.

    That's what screwed us!

    "Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment / reenlistment document."

    S. E. Ehlers
    AWC, USN (Ret.)

  68. Sad Military Spouse | March 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm |

    My husband has served his country for 25 years and is still active duty Air Force – his goal is to retire at 30 years. It is unbelievable to me that he is bound by a contractual obligation to his country and cannot break any part of his oath or legal commitment, however, with each passing year the government continues to make changes to their legal commitment to him, his fellow service members and to our retired veterans. What is happening to our country? We are the land of the free because of the brave men and women who allow this country and its people to continue to have our freedoms!

  69. Robert Mitchell | March 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
  70. This sucks *** for people like me who have chronic medical problems that undertake expensive procedures or medicine i will forever be in more debt because of this stupidity

  71. Eric Kirkpatrick | March 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
  72. SFC Offley, USA Ret | March 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm |

    Here we go, 1st they stopped Prime in Oregon for Retirees and dependents, so We had to buy a TriCare Supplement Insurance because my wife had not reached 65 for Medicare. Now they want to continue to break their promises to those who gave their prime years of their lives to their country. My oldest daughter had to attend 4 high schools because of reassignments caused by build downs and base closures. Now I am housebound and use an electric chair to get around and they want to take more money from me. Our families paid for our service, I missed birthdays, school activities, outings, and the list goes on. It is time for the 99% to stop asking the 1% to keep paying for the politicians mismanagement of our economy. We kept our way of life protected, now give us what we are promised.

  73. Don Campas | March 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
  74. When my husband retired in 1989 after 22 years in Army, we stayed in Northem VA. When I reached the age of 65, I was abruptly kicked out of military health system. The Tricare Prime was no longer available – the Ticare for Life pays a vey small portion of medical billing. Very few doctors will even take new Medicare patients – the Medicare website was totally useless in finding participating MDs.
    I finally found a primary care doctor for myself. Thankfully my husband is in the VA health system.

  75. Gold Star Spouse | March 3, 2014 at 9:21 pm |

    My husband gave his life for this country…KIA, Iraq 2007. Must I not only sacrifice his loss, as well as decent, affordable healthcare? Shame on this administration for their lies and shortcomings to the families of our fallen, wounded warriors, and veterans.

  76. Bring back the draft because your country no longer cares about you or your sacrifices.

  77. To all service personnel! active duty and reserve. need to walk away from the service and let the politicians do the defending for this country. let them pick a rifle fly a plane navigate a ship let them step up to the plate and even do what are special forces men do. HAVE I GOT AMEN TO THAT!

  78. I am so tired of the military retirees getting attacked all the time!!!! Congress needs to cut their own benefits!!!!!! Shame on Washington for always going after the military that served this country for at least 29 yrs. congress gets benefits for life after just one term!!!!
    People remember this on Election Day ! We need to get all these fools out of office

  79. Joe Pilgrim | March 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm |

    What was promised us vets, you are slowly taking away. I believe this treatment to our soldiers and retirees will discourage many young men & women from enlisting in the armed services in the future. It also will probably reduce soldiers relistments, when they see that what you are promised is probably going to change down the road. It is hard to believe that Congress & Senate will cut medical coverage for us vets, but not reduce their med. coverage 1 cent. You should hide your faced in shame.

  80. Again going after the military, retirees and dependents… When will that ever stop? Anytime any budget issues come up, the first ones you want to screw with are the military. Its about time you think of cutting some ridiculous spending and reducing some of your benefits!! Lets start with a pay cut for all politicians and cuts to your medical and your retirements. ALL retired and those in now need to have the peace of knowing they are covered. Why not start with 2013 enlistees with some changes? At least they will know what they are up against and not have to worry that after yrs of service they may lose some benefits or have to pay allot more then they can afford in medical. Its time to stand up for our military and stop thinking of ways to screw them over!!!

  81. I am a retired Marine Master Sergeant. Let me ask you folks something. Did none of you see this coming? Give me a break! Stop crying about it and do something. Get active in your community and vote these idiot politicians out of office Ranting about it online will do none of us one bit of good unless it's followed up by some sort of positive action. This country of ours is slowly falling apart little by little. We are almost to the point of no return. If it keeps going this way, none of us will have any medical privileges or retirement checks in ten years! Think about our kids and grand children!

  82. Willard Hunter | March 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm |

    I like many military retirees have a 40% service connected disability. Guess what I have to pay my own VA disability compensation out of my retirement pay. Now they want us to pay more for our free medical. What a joke. When I sent a message to my congressman to support HR333 bill that would ends the discrimination on military retirees with service connected disabilities, his answer was that he was not on the Armed Forces committee. My Congressman Doug La Malfa could care less as long as he gets his farm subsidies. Oh I think he's on the agriculture committee.

  83. Smiddy S, SA Vet USAF | March 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
  84. Take the enrollment fees for the widows out of the SBP that they are already screwing us out of.

  85. Fred Wilson | March 3, 2014 at 10:41 pm |

    From the time I enlisted in 1964 until I retired in 1986 I gave my ALL to protect the freedom I believe in for my country. Since I retired I hear/read about more and more of the benefit promised that are being cut and reduced. Congress and other Washington followers: When are we retirees going to hear something about you cutting your benefits? All we want is what we were promised and have earned. I am and will continue to serve the greatest country in the world. Thanks to all VETERANS for your service. MSgt, USAF (Ret.)

  86. As a Navy Retiree I resent the constant cuts aimed our way. Our premiums for TRICARE go up and there's nothing we can do about but let a union worker find out their health care costs are going up by 10 cents a month and they yell, cuss and go on strike. Of course we have to remember that our Military service assured them of their right to strike.

  87. More broken promises made to our veterans, service members, their families. This Administration is willing to steal our money through taxation with one hand to pay for social programs and food stamps to support illegals and the lazy, while using the other to steal benefits that were promised to that small percent who sacrificed for their country. Personally I don’t mind personally surrendering benefits for the good of the nation provided all citizens, and non citizens, participate as well in the effort but that is not Obama’s intent. His permanent walk out of the Whitehouse can’t come soon enough!

  88. Franklin Thompson | March 3, 2014 at 10:48 pm |

    Lets hope the Republicans can eliminate any damage until this President is gone. He should be impeached.

  89. Why is it year after year the Congress and all of Washington keep giving themselves pay raises that would equal or exceed any military man's pay while you cut the cost of living for all retirees and working to do the same for the active duty, leave the military alone. One day you're gonna find yourself with out a military then what are you gonna do, go to Russia. And you get free medical-and I don't mean Obama care as I know you all refused to take this as you know it stinks and you already get the best medical care free for doing nothing but whining all year every year. You can't make a decent decision that benefits our country, you just keep giving and giving to yourselves. Get off the backs of the less than 1 % of this country that gives you the right to do what you do and start giving back and follow the same programs all the military men and women have to. Try Leading by example just once in your life, you just might get a free get out of Hell card and make it to the Pearly gates if you repent your sins as a Politician.

  90. CMS H.Baker | March 3, 2014 at 11:00 pm |

    Franklin Thompson doesn't know it is congress- not the president – proposing these changess. Can you say racist?

  91. This is what happens when Congress blocks revenues from increasing. Hard earned benefits get chopped. Fed taxes have been too low for too long (lowest in 60 years now for almost 14 years….at over $350 billion a year in lost revenues…what do you think is going to happen? Corporate programs are going to get cut? NO! You want low taxes…folks, the fallout is coming…and it hasn't even started. The pillaging of a nation all in the name of our newly anarchical Congress.

  92. Richard Jones | March 3, 2014 at 11:10 pm |

    Here is what it looks like to me; Nobama and his lap dogs are going to make the present system so expensive that we will be forced into Obama care wether we like it or not. I want to know what is happening to my to my free health care for life that was guarantied to me by contract. Are they changing the rules in the middle of the game?

  93. As more and more of our Congressman are non-Vet, the relationship with the Veterans continues to deteriorate. They've never walked in our shoes and don't want to. We've satisfied our promises so we are sitting ducks for abuse.

  94. As a retiree with over 30 years service to my country its sad to say we as Americans do a considerable amount of talking with little constructive change. God bless those who have served their county. So went the Roman Empire.

  95. Mistreatment of veterans is not unique–look how bad the “bonus army” of WWI was treated–eventually congress listened to them, but change required collective action. As veterans, we can be a force for change.

  96. Lorena Johnson | March 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm |

    They will have had twenty years to make small raises in the Tricare but did they do it,no.

  97. According to the above article: "beneficiaries over 65 would continue to have access to TRICARE for Life, but they would face an enrollment fee…". Well the question then becomes: if a person 65 or older has access to TRICARE for Life why is that person required by law to enroll in and pay a monthly fee for MEDICARE or loose all medical benefits – including TRICARE. This is what I was told and am currently paying for to the tune of nearly $1,200 per year!

  98. When I enlisted in 1955 I was pomised the moon free health and dental care if I served 20years, I served 22 years MY WIFE AND I HAVE BEEN PAYING ONE WAY OR ANOTHER FOR MEDICAL CARE SINCE I RETIRED IN 1977. THIS CURRENT YEAR MEDICAL EXPENSES TOTAL $4600.00 . FREE MY
    ASS.

  99. What a minute when I enlisted in 1987 I was promised that my government when I retired was going to provide me with free medical insurance. This is getting ridicules. I was proud to serve my country for 23 years and now you are talking about taking money out of my retirement to pay for my medical that is BS and you know it. We as retirees do not get enough for what we gave to our country as it is now you want to take more, totally unacceptable. Stop giving all the money away overseas to other countries and to programs that are useless. Find a better way, not take our money we earned protecting our country.

  100. Here we go again, trying to find another way to screw the people that make it possible for this country to stand tall while giving Billions of dollars to countries that pray for our downfall everyday. America you are our mother; why do you constantly take from your children who are malnourished to feed others. Don't you think its time to take care of Home first for once…..

  101. DOD want to save some money, try this before you attempt to make changes to TRICARE. My issue is with the Post 911 GI Bill, specifically those active duty members that choose to give this benefit to a dependent as opposed to using it themselves. You have active duty members with dependents receiving free tuition, but they also receive a housing allowance which is that of E5 with dependents. I very large portion of those dependents still live with there active duty parents, so now the parents are receiving a housing allowance as well as there child and they all live in same household. Isn't paying a dependent childs tuition enough? No, we will also pay the children money for housing that there active duty parent is also receiving. this is a substantial amount of money a mouh depending on where you are stationed, could be anywhere from 1400 to 2000 dollars a month.

  102. jpegjerry | March 4, 2014 at 1:09 am |

    This is what happens when you vote for Libtards. Elections have consequences people, pay attention.

  103. Why is it all the time, THE MILITARY What are congressman and senator pick up the some of this.They get more than the military. For the short time they have to do… military 20 years
    Congressman 8 years
    Senator 6 years
    Pes 4 or 8 years
    That WRONG

  104. If the government wants to save money they should cut the billlions in aid to illegals instead of Americans serving thier country and the Americans the served thier country.

  105. Mike ONeal | March 4, 2014 at 3:25 am |

    when are they going to admit that republicans and TP'ers consider the military retiree community is a drag on the economy, past usefullness and not worth spit after fullfilling the commitments they required. No" they continue to peck away at the "promises and assurances' that hey made to us. Isin't that a breech of contract…..it usually is….one side meets requirements and the other on doesn't that's what its called. With the military relying on a volunteer military, one would think that cutting benefits would be a deterrent for future military numbers. What, other than sheer Patriotism, is the draw and reward for 20 yrs of service. At the same time, I'm pissed at he Democrats for allowing it. Next election is gonna be tough. Just seems like bad business to me….make promises, contract for 20 yrs, and reward completion of that contract, with continually chipping away at our benefits. Sell some of that crap DOD ordered and then let sit useless in a field….listen. ..if they say they don't need it don't make it. Why couldn't that saved revenue be recommitted to the fund tht "keeps them able to meet the promises they made?

  106. Current Tricare policies are simply unsustainable. In 2000 Tricare was a fraction of the cost (17bn) it is currently (45bn). Introducing a monthly premium for dependents is NOT outrageous. The quality of care and access to network providers with low deductibles, low catastrophic caps, and prescription costing a whopping $5 per month is still much better coverage for a lot cheaper than you will find elsewhere. If you think otherwise, i invite to access healthcare.gov and try to find better for cheaper. Members will still receive free EVERYTHING. Congress isnt out trying to screw over military members, we will still have excellent benefits. Where else can you retire with a pension starting at age 38? Where else can you enjoy never having had to deal with accumulating exorbitant medical bills? Where else can a 25 year old with no college education make $60,000 per year? It is t BS that someone who sits on there butt and doesnt work can access low cost healthcare through the exchange at our expense. But believe me when i say that tricare as you know it, is too good to be true.

  107. I repeat this every sngle time I go on this site, and haven't a clue if anyone is listening. You need to bury the white house, the pentagon, the SecDef, and congress with emails demanding they take refrain from taking action(s) IN ORDER TO HAVE ANY EFFECT ON THESE ISSUES.

    There are several websites that provide links to write your elected officials, i.e. Disabled American Veterans, Retired Militsary Officers Association, and others. USE THEM!!!

    Write a good strong letter, making your demands for them to stop attacking veterans, and or change policies. Then re-send it EVERY SINGLE DAY !!!

    Literally bury them in mail! Voice your disgust with them That's all they care about – getting reelected and keeping POWER MONEY for themselves. Do it every day!

    I DO!!!

  108. Dennis Habern | March 4, 2014 at 4:20 am |

    Why are retirees rewarded for their 20 years or more of military service by
    being assigned Category 6 when flying Space-Available? If it was not for
    we retirees, perhaps there would not be a United States to call the home of
    the brave. Therefore, if anyone out there maintains any clout to change the
    Space-A system with a new proposal such as Retirees should be given the
    same category as the Active, Category 3, first come, first serve, as OUR reward for serving our country. Why should dependents, currently traveling without their sponsor, receive a higher priority? What say thee America?

  109. I enlisted right out of High School 50 years ago and was sold a sales package
    with a promise of a 20 year retirement at 50% of my base pay with full medical,dental and eye care for life. I accepted losing the Dental and eye care
    and now they want me to pay for the rest of what I was promised. This whole thing SMELLS of Breach of Contract. The only ones who don't have to give up anything are the Politicians and my High School Buddy who retired from the Town Land fill and gets a better retirement with everything that I was promised but lost. Those so called honorable Politicians that are ruining the future of our Military really don't have a clue of what they are doing. The real problem is; How do we STOP them.

  110. Cervantes | March 4, 2014 at 6:20 am |

    Why not target government spending around the "loop" in DC? Come on, $44,000 pay for a person pushing elevator buttons for senators? I worked for military finance for 20 years and saw the wasteful spending. Clothing allowance for Officers wife's? Give us a break!

  111. Time to write our representatives, again! When I served 20+ years and was told to go TDY, deploy, work 24/7, etc, I never said I couldn't "afford it" or it wasn't "sustainable". I held up my end of the bargin & they need to hold up there's. We are tired of heraing this crap, "not sustainable".

  112. Mark, E8, Ret | March 4, 2014 at 6:54 am |

    I'm laughing. I was one of the "171,000, which is only 3% of the retirees" (some Dept of Health fluzzy in a mil uniform stated) that was thrown out of Prime and forced into Standard, because I am not within 40 miles of a MTF. Uh, many may be fooled, but I'm not – it is impossible that only 3% of us don't live near a MTF. There aren't enough bases anymore. (Besides, a small clinic w/ M-F hours is considered a MTF. Like they provide enough care…) Anyhow, at the time, I said "watchout. This is the first step, and the rest of you will be affected".

    We're here.

    I did get my 1% COLA cut back though.

  113. Bob Blackmon | March 4, 2014 at 7:22 am |

    As a retired USAF Military member I am disgusted with the way that the goverment is skimming the military for their short sightness. We have never been able to change our contracts made with the Sewrvices. How can they in good faith make changes on us at a whim. They could save Billions of dollars by discontinuing aid to the illegals from Mexico, frivolus studies, eliminating czars for the First Lady and having members of Congress to cancell some of their perks.
    Thank you for allowing my comments. BJB

  114. Here they go again to screw us out of what we earned ! Always taking away something, they need to have their benefits taken away and made to pay just like they are threatening us retiree's ! We gave them twenty years plus and took alot of abuse doing it ! Alot more gave even more and now they want to take it back ! Screw them !

  115. MCPO Dino | March 4, 2014 at 7:29 am |

    The answer is unionize the military much like our government civilian counterparts. Their benefits never gets attacked. Why because they're unionized and that my friends means votes, very many votes. Active duty, reserves and National Guard and their families would mean millions of votes and that my friends gets the attention of our sorry ass politicians!

  116. Recently Retired | March 4, 2014 at 7:32 am |

    Aaron… Wake up. If they want to impose something like this as a change to new recruits coming in, so be it. But to take what we as retirees earned and was promised is wrong.

  117. Debra Allen-Stash | March 4, 2014 at 7:42 am |

    Amen to the majority of the comments I have read….thrown out of Prime, forced into Standard. Promise them anything, get what you want out of them, change the rules at will and break all of the contract promises….yep: that would be our illustrious government officials…..very sad indeed.

  118. Why not cut the salaries and benefits for the worthless bunch of legislators we have in Washington. When their "free ride" gets cut then and only then talk to the Military riterees

  119. Its time for the military personal to walk and let congress fight there own created problems instead of the military fighting for them. enough is enough. Get rid of the one percent and hire someone from the 99 percent.

  120. Chief JAL | March 4, 2014 at 7:58 am |

    How many of our RICH OVERPAID politicians get up at 0400 and perform physical exercise, jump from planes, get injured doing your jobs? None – I am not talking about getting fat and rich – I am talking about going anywhere at anytime with no opinion – fight and get injured — then come home and be forgotten! Go &*^$ yourselves and remember these same individuals that you are promising and then taking away from WILL remember YOU…………. We are sustainable………………..

  121. When I became sixty five Tricare would not allow me to use a military hospital within ten minutes of where I live on Fort Belvior. I have acute breathing problems and can not do space availability medical programs. I need an ongoing provider. At first my feeling were hurt. But it is a good thing I took my Heath insurance plan into retirement. Although I have been married to a military member for over fifty-one years non of those ongoing for life health benefits seem to be a sure thing anymore.

  122. Revert back to CHAMPUS which is what this looks like but with a twist of demanding our retirees pay for what was promised free great idea – NOT! Do not breech our contract instead charge our legislators for their insurance!

  123. In 1972 the recruiter mentioned free health care. I retired and have used Tricare standard. Lucky I have found a dr. and a dentist that will take the plan. But TriCare is increasing in cost. Congress does afford themselves free health and dental care. Vote them out !!!! Replace them with representatives that will honor veterans service vice giving free education to illegal immigrants. Stop paying for abortions with tax dollars and stop the redefinition of disabled and the give away to abled that are not disabled.

  124. Yes, promises were made, and now some modification is taking place. Don't complain so much..be grateful many others do not have what we take for granted, besides use Medicare and there is no need to burden the military system, and stop visiting the Md for every sniffle and cough it…dollars add up and then we wonder why?

  125. I think we should have the same health benefits as our current administration and their cronies, which doesn't include Obamacare.

  126. Nobody likes change and everyone feels they earned it. Doesn't matter if the country continues to go deeper in debt as long as each individual feels as if they are getting theirs. That will be the destruction of this country. From top to bottom of this country everyone believes they earned it so they will take and take. I'm sure some of the responses to this will question my military background and my what I know about anything and that's fine. I don't care what many of you think. I think if there was less I want in this world and more how can I help this world would be a better place.

  127. Talking about this here is nice, we all get to see it, but it would be much more useful to tell it to your representatives in Congress. Someone stated that the answer is to unionize the military. I disagree. We have a large voice if we only use it. TELL IT TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS!

  128. Barbara Yopek | March 4, 2014 at 8:52 am |

    Actually any cuts to our military is a slap in the face. There is so much waste in the politics in the United States it isn't funny. Stop some of it and leave the benefits of the military, retirees, and bases alone. I am a spouse of a Vietnam Veteran that passed with Cancer due to Agent Orange, he was only 48 when he died now I feel the government owes my benefits to me for the ultimate end. He retired from the military in 1990 so he did his country proud. I just am almost ashamed that these cuts are going to take place. Shame on you.

  129. George Moore | March 4, 2014 at 8:55 am |

    Until we stop talking about letting them take ever thing away from us, and start taking action. Its time to do as they did in the early 70's, when the veterans marched on DC. Its time to make a stand, Its time to make Senators, and Congressmen in this Country. Start doing what they say, The men and women in this country that are give there lives, living with sickness, and pain. For the freedom of others to be treated, like we don't matter anymore.

  130. Most of the politicians today have never served a day in the military so they do not know or understand what the military have gone through and continue to go through based on their political decisions. The military is a lifestyle of it's own and unless you've been military or a dependent of military there is no way to know. The politicians really don't care unless there is a base located in their district. Look at all the higher ranks Obama is getting rid of because they don't agree with what he is doing. This isn't the true military most of us knew and loved, this is Obama setting up a his own force where they bow only to him. part 1 of 2

  131. Our household consists of two people, both retired from the USAF. We had one child (grown & gone), we pay the same as a family of 10… duhh, why is Tricare going bust?! Where did the promise come from that the military would support the member and a spouse and as many kids as you can produce??? Start charging the ones who are overburdening the benefit…start charging for for spouses and kids – where other than Tricare does that not happen?!

  132. Barbara Yopek | March 4, 2014 at 9:02 am |

    Who is going to volunteer for the military if cuts are kept going for our military? What I know of life of a military family not many. During the time my husband was in the military, before he retired, it wasn't bad except the pay was terrible but we made it stretch. Now with Tricare being cut I cant afford my health care if we have to pay more. I have a heart condition, and it takes all I have to continue to care for myself. My husband died and my income dropped about 50 to 75% with what he made as a civilian. He worked for the State of Michigan after retirement until his death at the age of 48 years old because our country used Agent Orange in Vietnam. I had the choice of collecting his Army pension or VA stepped in due to the fact it was combat related. He retired from the military in 1990 he didn't just do his 2 years and get out of the military, but they say it is double dipping to be able to collect both VA and his Army Pension. I just don't understand why they don't leave the military alone and cut in other places we need to be defended.

  133. I am so tired of getting these emails about attacks on tricare, 32 years as a weapons troop going anywhere there was a conflict that needed resolution following orders believing that I was supporting a country and administration that would support me by following the contract they imposed. Retirees, veterans, active duty, national guard all are affected now or later by the incompetence of are government administrators, we need to make a statement on the White House lawn ,let the country hear our voice, we need to make CNN. ACTION speaks louder than words, petition your state government let your congreeman know your feelings. I don't believe they read these forums.Too busy figuring out how to make cuts to our retirement benefits. Maybe should start targeting all retirement plans, 401s. Pension plans etc… Why Just Military Retirements and Medical care? Enough said!

  134. I entered the military in 1972. I was told that if I stayed in and retired after 20 years of honorable service, I was told I would have health care for the rest of my life. The article states that the use of a military facility would result in a lower/reduced rate. Well what about the retirees that do not live around a military installation? We are subject to higher rates. Okay, here we go again, lets kick the crap out of the old retiree, you know the one that spent 20 plus years, numerous deployments (unaccompanied), enduring hardships and just putting up with horse shit like this. We don't want a thank you, we just want everyone to leave our benefits alone. And to the person above that says don't complain so much, be grateful, other don't have what we have. Well the others had the same opportunities that we had, most lacked the testicular fortitude to step up to the plate and you, you are probably one that sat back here in conus while everyone else was deployed. So with this said, just leave the retiree benefits alone. Oh and the next time there is a requirement for a soldier to deploy or stand to in inclement weather in full battle gear.

  135. We must stand up to this b.s. together! Blast the Dept. of Defense FB wall and that of your representatives- and even Tricare's wall. If they delete it, re-post. I live in San Antonio, where you can go into any e.r. any time of the day or night and watch illegals barely get through the door before giving birth. We have money for THEM! Those kids will get free food, housing, Pre-K, college. It's SHAMEFUL that Hagel is out lying to the American public and saying there "is no money".

  136. If they would reduce the pay of the politicians and stop their enormous pay raises, then the retirees and military would be safe! Most of the politicians never served and they obviously don't do any work now, but they get very large pay checks, great benefits and guaranteed large raises every year. They have no problem getting involved in a war and sending "other" people over to fight, but want to cut their raises and benefits for defending this country and letting these jerks have the lives they have!!! What is wrong with this picture? Let's clean house…..starting with the biggest jerk of all…..at the top of line and move down until they are all out and how about getting veterans in to run the country, after all, they kept it free, they deserve to have a say as to how it is run. I know we wouldn't be in the trouble we are now if they did. Let's get rid of all the lazy jerks!!!!!!! We need America back to Americans and we need and deserve our Freedom!!!!!

  137. You are so correct about the general makeup of the person and their family now as opposed to past years. I can remember going to the exchange as a child and teen in different states and countries. The servicemember was sharp and clean. The wives looked as if they cared about their appearance back then. Now half the people in the exchange do not speak english, they look as if they are homeless vagrants, the children are loud and unruly running through the isles. I have seen the overweight women shoplift items and put them in their doublewide strollers. Yech, what happened?

  138. This has nothing to do with Obama. Take your homophobic rant elsewhere.

  139. Clifton R. Ancelet | March 4, 2014 at 9:47 am |

    Tricare patients are treated like a charity case in most civilian communities anymore. As a matter of fact I was told just two week ago that a podiatrist couldn't treat or take on anymore Tricare patients because the Government didn't pay their bill. Sad day when you've given 33 years of your life to this great Nation and you can't get a ingrown toe nail taken care of. Thanks Mr. Obama you've screwed this program up as well.

  140. WWII Marine vet of Okinawa 1945 (purple heart). China, Korea, Japan until 1949. Army Korea 1950-1952 (2 purple hearts) Japan, Korea 1953-56.
    Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia – 1959-1962. Vietnam 1966-68, 1970-71
    (2 purple heart. Retired pay for 29 years. VA compensation from my retired
    pay. Continuing bills, more insurance, etc. Yes, i was a volunteer. Very poor pay through the years. I'm well past 80 years. Damn the perfumed princes
    in DC. Let them work for the fantastic pay we received thru the years.

  141. I would like to apologize to all of you, my neighbors and my family, for being a burden. I deepy admire those who died for my country – they are no longer a burden on anyone. When I signed up I thought I was doing my duty for my country and never considered that you would end up paying for all my "free" stuff. I thought of myself as my own man and very independent. I don't know what happend to me after I got out. I did feel lucky that I didn't pay the ultimate price, lose an arm, a leg, or all four as many have done. But, now that I am still here in one piece, I'm ashamed that I can't bring myself to sacrifice just a little bit of the free stuff you are paying for.

  142. CHARLESIDEBATE | March 4, 2014 at 9:59 am |

    Kerry just ran off to the Ukraine with money that could have been used at the VA.

  143. larry small | March 4, 2014 at 10:02 am |

    I wish John Kerry would shut up with his threats. Does he realize what a Russian nuclear weapon would do to his hair?

  144. I have news for Aaron; Congress is out to screw over military families and anyone else they can so long as they continue to be able to dip their beaks in the public trough. I don't know what military he served in but the on I volunteered for in 1966 promised that if I put myself in harms way, which they had every intention of making certain I would, then my country would do and provide certain things. I did what I was asked to do and now I expect my country to do what it said it would do…completely. The Congress of the United States has been bought and are in the service of modern day robber barons, each and every Senator and Congressman is either a criminal or morally or ethically corrupt…or all three. Yet they feel entitled to steal what veterans earned….what many of our brothers died to protect.

  145. MSgt Gary Gladu Ret. | March 4, 2014 at 10:26 am |

    Isn't it always the way, those who do the least get the most. Here we've put 20 + years serving our country (I'm 24 years) and we get cut. But God forbid they should cut the funds of Welfare or other state run programs for those who do nothing to earn that check! Thank God we are at war. If not, we would be all but forgotten! Statistically it shows that the further from war we are, the more the military get cut and why not the retirees? Heck, we don't need them anymore!
    Someone mentioned that Congress should try to live in the real world. Gee! when they retire they get full salary, free medical and free everything else. How dare they say we should feel lucky because our benefits are better than the civilian community. Did the civilian community put their lives in jeopardy for 20 years? For that matter did Congress? So why should they get everything free at our expense. Better stop now before I say something I'll regret.

  146. My 16 thousand dollar annual pension was never intended for shelling out expensive co pays to a fourth rate HMO. In my 12 years of retirement I've only used my so called health benefit one time, in which the doctor padded the bill, which is what they always do when dealing with insurance companies. I resent the idea of now being forced to pay annual fee's when I rarely ever go to a doctor, as I believe they're all crooks anyway. In US tax payer supported israel, every citizen of that little *^%%# receives cradle to grave universal health care. US politicians don't mind paying for universal health care benefits to a foreign country, They just don't want to pay for these benefits for their own military.

  147. That's right, Congress. Keep screwing with the military benefits. Retirees who gave 20+ years of service and this is how we are treated? WHAT gives them the right to do this. I'll bet if (we the people) had the right to cut the benefits in Congress (who by the way WORK FOR THE PEOPLE), they would have a heart attack. You can't keep on doing this to us! I'd like to know who proposed this bill and who voted for it. Publish their names and see how the public reacts.

  148. I agree with you and I also see that we Americans are blinded with ideologies, party affiliations and promises, year in year out, and elect to congress the same individuals, even in your local community and state and continue to support these same two-faced, double-crossed , back stabbing, and selfish individuals who feed you a carrot contaminated with chemicals, slowly killing you and the generations to follow. All these folks care about are there own pockets and you and I are left to navigate life through the "total " mess they left behind. They get their pensions and pay raises without any problems of getting it cut or taken away. They feed off the tax payers of this country and get a free ride.They don't care about you and me. The news media (Fox News, CNN, etc.) are also the ones who instigate division and misinformation to the public and the worse thing of all, is that they teach you and the CHILDREN of this country and the world that dishonesty, being selfish, irresponsible, and having disrespect for the true value of human dignity, are the things one should pursue so as to get what you want in life. Why don't you ask those professional athletes and Wall Street investors who makes millions off of our backs? How sad, how pathetic, how un-American (how un-Christian). I am only one individual, like so many others of my colleagues who loss their lives to help protect this country's freedom and way of life, given with 40 years of my life and all I get from others who never serve this country but still reap the benefits, is "it is a free country and we can choose". I see these as the "hypocrites" that Jesus talked about in many of his sermons. The Book of Daniel Chapter 21:verse 8: states: " But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and sexually immoral, and those practicing spiritism and idolators and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur". Americans need to wake up and see the demons you created for this generation and your grandchildren and great grandchildren and generations to follow.

  149. If the President would stop taking vacations that cost approx $1 million dollars per hour, then maybe the veterans and those who are currently serving will be able to continue to get what is deserved by their sacrifice and service to our Country. When I joined some 40 years ago, I was told stay the course and get all of these benefits… Well, most of the benefits I was promised is now gone or I am forced to pay for them… How is that a benefit? Mr President, you above everyone else who talks so smoothly about our veterans in public but stab them in the wallets in private should keep the promises to those who served. I am voting this next election, to get every swinging D*** out of office. It is time for a fresh start and get rid of the politicians who are destroying this country with their greed. Veterans benefits should be sacred.

  150. Think its bad now. Wait until you have to sell your medals and steal potatoes out of the field at night. That's how Russian vets of WW2 survived

  151. Aaron, I usually donty post to these things however your comments "… Where else can you retire with a pension starting at age 38? Where else can you enjoy never having had to deal with accumulating exorbitant medical bills? Where else can a 25 year old with no college education make $60,000 per year?…" are correct but you seem to have forgotten what those of us who have served and retired had to give up in order to receive these benefits. Just things like half of the time your are in the service you are away from your family and the small thing of being told to go to war and have the chance of being killed, moving every few years, etc. Before you get back on your anti military soapbox let me say, yes, it was our choice to join and to serve so we new the deal when we signed the papers to join. And BTW when I joined I was told my health care and the health care of my family would be free for the rest of my life.

    I strongly suggest that until you walk a mile in a military members shoes you shut up and don't comment on what you don't understand.

  152. Nick USA Ret. | March 4, 2014 at 11:30 am |

    When the First Lady can jet off to China with her children – AND her Mother at taxpayer expense, after vacationing in Apen and Hawaii – at a cost of millions and millions of dollars, clearly there is money to continue to support soldiers who have served their country. Why exactly does the First Lady, who had dozens of assistants and servants attending her every whim – NEED a vacation – from what?

  153. gary weber | March 4, 2014 at 11:35 am |

    You know what my cost of living increase was this year? 1.45 Tell Obama
    KEEP THE CHANGE that won't buy a soda. My mistake my take home pay is 1800.00 a month not every two weeks. I went from 5000.00 a month to not even half. 24 years of service and this is my worth. Do you think I can support a wife and child with special needs on 1800.00 now take out what they propose for us to pay for health care that was promised when I enlisted. That we would be taken care of for life. I guess they need to define "life". I'm use to being lied to by the gov. and lets face it the medical in most cases is crap but atleast it was insurance. You want to fix the budget get rid of that thing in the white house. Start with that. YOu would think with his proposed cut of the military that would take care of our insurance there you go. Less soldiers more money. REAL SMART

  154. IOthat this is just a chance for the richer to get richer…..Right ? When a veteran is disabled they need more help not more to stress out about. I honestly believe if the president is concerned about the USA Military people he'd be willing to stop his crazy spending sprees and help us out.

  155. Disappointed | March 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm |

    OBAMABOT and the DECEPTI_CONS strike again. Because of greed, corruption and cowardess in Washington and Corperate America we are getting screwed again. They keep filling there pockets and off shore bank accounts while we are forced to sacrafice more.
    They have the best health care plan and retirement on the planet and it gets better every time they cut our benefits that we EARNED. They took me off Prime because i do not live within 100 miles of a MTF and now I have medical bills pilling up which are getting harder to pay because there are no jobs. And good luck trying to find a job with health benefits, OBAMACARE took care of that.
    ObAMACARE is doing what it was meant to do, put more money in the pockets of those in our government, Health Insurance Companies and the Medical Community and force us to decide between paying to high cost of die.
    It is bad when your own government cares more about taking care of other countries and all the illegals that we have, then taking care of her citizens.

  156. I am so tired of all of the promises and all of the lies that we are feed every day by congress. I really don't think all of the vacations and expensive cloths that O bum-me-out's family along with himself are necessary. What about THE PEOPLE who fight and often give their life for our country. I think that any one elected in congress should have a military background.

  157. Another broken promise. I've been retired now for over 30 years and every year we lose more and more benefits promised if we stayed for 20 or more years. I chose to serve as I liked what I was doing (even thought pay was very low) and I wanted the guaranteed lifetime benefits……so much for the benefits. I dont know how our great country can maintain a strong military if we keep degrading it and breaking promises made. Its a travesty.

  158. The Federal Government and I signed a contract at the time of my enlistment and every re-enlistment after that. I served 26 years and now that I have held up my end of the bargain, the government thinks that it is fine for them to change the rules. If this is the way veterans can expect to be treated, the recruiting for the military will lose any support from veterans. This should be illegal, it is certainly disgraceful.

  159. I'm 89 years old and have been retired since '84 My wife is 82 and not good shape.
    The little reconpense I get each month doesn"t add up to much.
    Soow the DoD wants to reduce thast…thank you for your xervice!

  160. The Gunny | March 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm |

    Guess Mr. Hagel forgot what it was like to be an enlisted man…as he is now just another rich "suit" like all of the rest of them in Washington that will get everything (health care, pension, etc…) at no cost to them from the erosion of military benefits and higher taxes from the rest of the American citizen population…..

  161. Stallion-7 Retired | March 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm |

    Once again Tricare is being looked at via the 'Sniper Scope' so let's hope there are enough young Veterans serving in the House of Representatives or the Senate to fight for us. Sure we have some older Veterans in the House or Senate but some of these have turned a "blind eye" and they are willing to asked once again that "us retirees" balance the US Debt. Have they sent that 1 Billion Dollars in AID to the Ukraine yet??? I have nothing against the Ukraine, but let's find that pot of money somewhere else and not from those of us who have retired our 'BOOTS"t and looking to enjoy retirement.
    REDLEG First Sergeant Retired – "A Soldier for Life"

  162. chiefebby | March 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm |

    this is disgraceful I also served 21 years and was told I would have FREE medical and dental for life. that didn't happen now they want more. For you people that think this is OK then I suggest you get a life. You have no idea what these folks have gone through to uphold their end of the contract they were legally held to when it was signed. what if when you get to be 65 and the Gov tells you they are not giving anyone Social Security after you payed into it all those years. oh well I guess the way you think that will be OK. Think about. Its not ok to go back on your promise or change the rules.

  163. dresslerus | March 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm |

    Call and email your congressmen now.
    You are about to get really screwed for the rest of your life.

  164. Those few of us, that have served in 3 "wars" have seen the military, and the retirees, in the sights of the idiots in Washington. Not just the Republicans, but also the "blue dog" Democrats. They are now joined by another President that, either doesn't care, or doesn't understand.
    In a Utopian world, no one could make decisions about the military, that had not experienced, on the ground, combat, or at least spent a few years as a enlisted person.
    As long as we of the military, sit back and piss and moan, but take no action, the fools will continue to rip us apart. Then suddenly we will be needed again, and it will be all love and kisses again.
    The military is comparable to a pair of shoes, used, and then discarded, while still having a shine. Discarded by those who can afford another pair.

  165. Concerning all these comments i say: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5/6 with: " Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus" Phil 4:6/7. Finally "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to that which I have committed unto him againist that day. 2 Tim 1:12

  166. John P. White,Jr. | March 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm |

    Increase medical insurance costs for active military personnel with dependents and retirees by imposing new co-pays and fees even though most were promised "free health care for life". Increase grocery costs for active military personnel and retirees by cutting subsidies for the grossly mismanaged commissary system even though all were promised this benefit would be available for life. But don't dare touch Obamaphones, food stamps, welfare, disability, rent subsidies from HUD and the other welfare programs that ballooned since January 2009. Why any young man considering a military career would believe the promises of the U. S. Government is beyond me.

  167. all vets should march on washington,we had it with all the bs. we need to get some tlc from washington. maybe we need to kick ass again,36 years of service is not enough, give us a break?

  168. it is amazing all the promises we were told that if we make a career in the military we will receive all these great benefits. Lots of our comrades lost limbs eye sight, had mental problems, called names like baby killers all for our country and our leaders. Now they want to kick us in the ASS by removing the small benefits, why because the president would rather give the tax dollars we contribute foreign governments who dislike us and our freedoms and to those who haven't worked for several generations or those who come here just to receive all the benefits we fought for. Since we have no fighters in our government to fight for us the promises we were promised are slowly being taken away form us whenever they can. Sorry to have severed those years but still LOVE MY COUNTRY!!!!!

  169. I have learned the hard way that the US Government cannot be trusted. Our laws are made by politicians and currently those serving who have served in the military is probably at it's lowest point. I think it 17 individuals. That means we have no lobbyist in congress and they things we as military retirees will continue to lose the promises made for our service. In 1986 congress passed and it was signed into law that those who served in the military and then had a second career as civil service would lose most of their social security payments and their widows would probably get none. It is called the Windfall profit and Social Security offset. I fall under these laws and when I die, my wife will probably get no SS. My on SS was reduced by 35% for Offset and 25% for taking it at age 62. Both of these laws was broken promises. I fully expect that Tri-care for Life will soon have a change that breaks another promise. I too, would not encourage a young person volunteer for the services. Someday congress may have to bring back the draft.

  170. (Reply 1 of 2) This is the same argument used to strip down and raise co-pays and get less for your 20 years of dedication of service weather its health care or education benefits, or any other idea to support the troops. It takes a real commitment that is properly managed over time to support our troops, no excuses, no exceptions. The ideas that have been implemented in the last 10 yrs. or so were done for popularity context, not with any intention for lasting support. We all have allowed this mentality creep into all aspects of our lives.

  171. (Reply 2 of 2) We as a people and as a nation need to embrace our elder’s values and sustain that into our futures. Not new, articulate ideology, who want to change the definition of democracy mid-stream in our 200 years of democratic philosophy, I am tired of this new mentality of we will just change the terms because we did not really try to honor or manage or try to uphold what we first committed too. It really has gotten to the point in this country where you wonder if you really are going to get embalmed when you die or maybe NOT. Maybe the young kid with his I-phone 6000 and his headphones on texting his girlfriend decides screw it- I just go skateboarding instead. He already has the gold out of your mouth and taken your identity from your wallet. It is this mentality that has 30 year career military man/woman thinking they will have to collect cans to keep his/her health care while congress finds themselves filing bills to exempt themselves out their own BS.

  172. robert winter | March 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm |

    As for the one who says there should be more less wants. You should take a longer look at "our" government ! All they do is take and spend any way they want. If any cuts are made they should be willing to start with their selves. Congress and Senate should be put on term limits just like the President! Two terms and then they go onto social security just like the rest of us who want more. Plus they will not draw their full retirement like the enjoy now, their retirements will be cut just like our active duty and retirees. Then see who really willing to get "THE CUTS". From a retired GySgt.

  173. dresslerus | March 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm |

    Cost of one F35 $220,000,000 dollars

    Now that is one very expensive boondoggle so how do we pay for it? lets cut the retirees health plans.

  174. I say vote out all the present officials in congress and get new ones. The old crew are not for the military or vets. A new congress might be just as bad but I will not see the old crew anymore. They all need to be removed at the next election. VOTE TO REPLACE ALL!!!!

  175. Raymond R. Pecue | March 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm |

    Once again Obama wants to cut the military instead of cutting his vacations with his family which cost the tax payers for the plane to carry his dog. Trips that his wife takes with her children and there friends again at our expense. Every time the military takes a hit in their benefits so should every one from that president on down. Look at the money we could save.

  176. Gentlemen! Cost is no object to this president. His lovely wife and children are going to China at our expense to share educational ideas. Any idea of the cost of that vacation, I mean diplomatic trip????????

  177. I'm so sick of the congress taking away our benefits so they can give it to the programs for the poor. What do they think the military is after they work and protect our country to be put in this position. I guess when everyone is on welfare this president will be happy and we will not have anyone to protect our great country. Our troops should be getting raises and more benefits not less. Some retired vets cant afford hikes in healthcare. This president and senate and congress should be hiding because of what they are doing to our Military!!!

  178. The entire truth is we have no one in any administration that know what it means to have served this country unquestionably!! Even Sen. McCain has turned his back on his comrades. This is someone who was a POW!! Probably drawing a VA disability in addition to what congress votes to cover them for life. Talk about hypocrisy!! Have no idea how to fix since those we vote for don't care about people.

  179. To all of those people who think military personnel have it so great and after giving the best years of our life to our country I have one one question, WHY HAVEN'T YOU JOINED YET. I served for 22 years, I was 44 when I retired. My retirement pay was 2,000 dollars a month. Believe it or not I had to find a job to continue to support my family. I also moved every three years, I did not purchase my home until I was close to retirement because you don't know where you are going to retire until you get close to retirement. For those of you who never served when did you buy your home and start paying for it?? WHEN DID YOU START SAVING FOR YOU RETIREMENT SEEING YOU WAS STABLE AND NOT MOVING EVERY THREE YEARS. By the way I don't want you to forget the years me and my family had to go to a foreign country to live for three plus years where every thing is twice as expensive!! I could go on but it you don't get by now you never will until you serve in the military.

  180. I think this is totally ridiculous and unnecessary.

  181. We need to remember that when many of our current retirees enlisted or started out as draftees, the promse was that career military would, starting at age 60 at the latest, health care would be provided at no charge for the rest of their lives, and that would include the wives who supported them on the homefront. How many times in the last forty years has that "promise" been changed? These benefites are not free–these service personnel paid for this by being underpaid, and sent into harms way, knowing they might come back in a body bag, or permenently disabled in mind or body. Why is Wounded Warrior necessary? Because the government is not fulfilling its obligation to our Service Personnel. And the current reductions are proposed while our present first lady is making more trips on our nickle than any other in my memory. Stand up, get involved in the process, and actively support the candidate of your choice.

  182. lawrence mcmonigal | March 4, 2014 at 9:45 pm |

    I am certain things are going to get a lot worse in the near future for our country and our way of life as we know it.
    Lawrence

  183. How are they going to keep people in the military until retirement when they keep cutting the very things they stay for?

  184. Good God, my injuries occurred while on duty – and they retired me, now they are going to charge me for medical coverage?

  185. Don't block everyone into your $60,000 retirement. We are not all officers that is 4 times my retirement from the USAF and more than the E9 with 28 years service down the road.
    The personnel that are in charge of taking benefits from the retired are the same senators and congressmen that exempt there selves from the medical and retirement that they vote for us and they vote there own pay raises. They make 10 times what the military make and retire with 20 times as much.
    Who is going to decide what and emergency is? When you are over 60 and emergency to you would not be an emergency to someone who is 30.
    Are the senators and congressmen going to let that same person decide if the should go to the emergency room or their kids. Oh there doctors probably come to their house.

  186. Retired 1SG Female | March 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm |

    Alot of us spent our entire young adult life in the military…from our 20's thru our 40's. We deployed once, twice, maybe three or more times. We believed in what we were doing and we were told that the benefits of staying would be worth it. You could feel, throughout the years, your body deteriorating from carrying a ruck sack, duffel bag, weapon, flack jacket, helmet on your head, amongst other things. As we have aged, our bodies are now showing signs of over-use, but we were told that the benefits of staying would be worth it. We would be taken care of. I, personally had TRICARE Prime until October 2013 when it was changed to Standard. I was never told this could happen in the 26 years I spent in the military. On Prime, I felt like they truly were taking care of me, even though I had to pay an enrollment fee and had to use certain doctors, I had very low out of pocket expenses. Now, that I am on Standard, in just 5 months time, I owe doctors over $1000 which is my 20% and my deductible. I didn't plan for this and I didn't ask for this. I am very sure that there are people out there who have it so much worse than I do, but that's not the point. Those people didn't spend 26 years in the military and weren't promised to be taken care of medically. I did and I was. If you're going to change something, you grandfather those people you promised you would take care of. The soldiers coming in will come in with a new promise, but if you lie to us, those new soldiers won't believe you either!

  187. In the military as leaders we we're trained to. Lead by example. As a leader we would see that our soldiers were taken care of first. I have not seen where the President nor congress nor the senate reduce there benefits. Why not? I do not see their benefits taken away one by one. When will they stop increasing their pay? I spent 30 years serving our country to prevent socialism from taking over our country. Now it appears that the American people want it.

  188. NORMAN PEARSON | March 5, 2014 at 12:33 am |

    I believe that the reason medical costs are going out of sight is because there is no cost control on the medical field and hospital charges. Why should their expenses exceed the cost of living by a large percentage year after year? The cost of having a baby in the United States is higher than any place in the world. (Today's news) Why? Charging $400 to read an x-ray. A $10,000 charge for an MRI, x-rays, etc., etc for a referral from a Urgent Care facility that charged over $200 to tell us they did not know what was wrong. After all the above took place a doctor looked at my wife, finally,a couple hours late, and said he thought she had shingles. Why didn't he examine her when initially arriving. Also, a bill for $4,000 for administering an injection in my eye, plus $2,000 for other eye examination within an hour 1/2, was submitted for payment. Why are such high bills submitted? I don't know what percent Medicare or Tri-Care pay for such bills. Unless a expense cap is placed on the medical profession they will never get enough money and will jack their prices up, up and away. I have expressed my concerns to my legislative representatives.

  189. Truth is, I think military pay is currently OK, but if they were to shove tricare fees down our throats, that would be a dirrent story. On another note I've been serving for 14 years, and urged to stay in the military because of my benefits specifically, Healthcare and retirement. Now just a few years from my retirement I'm at risk of being kicked to the curb, because of the budget cuts, and I will get nothing for missing out on some of my wife and childrens lives. At this point in my life I wish I would have only stayed in 4 years and left because I could have an established career by now. Don't get me wrong I enjoy what I do now it's a sacrifice that "I" chose to serve "Our" country but I feel as if I've been lied to for the past 14 years

  190. Steve Strawberry | March 5, 2014 at 9:59 am |

    I retired from the U.S. Navy after 24 years of honorable service to my country. A nation that I truly believed in and a nation that stands for freedom and democracy around the world. I cannot believe that this is the kind of appreciation that we get from our government for serving our country and for the freedom that all of those in the White House enjoy today. We made countless sacrifices for everyone (including our families) and put ourselves in harms way everyday of our lives. For what? For a nation that stopped caring about their own people? To our congressmen, senators, representatives, and our President, I would say this, 'Shame on you.' You are suppose to take care of your people. Our vote put all of you up there (the White House) to represent us, to fight for us (just as we have for you), to take and recognize our efforts and the many risks that we have taken throughout our entire service in the Armed Forces. You all continue to disrespect our Constitution founded by our forefathers and God. You all have gone away from what this nation is all about. The land of the free and the home of the brave…yeah right! None of you believe in what we, as Americans, believe!

  191. Steve Strawberry | March 5, 2014 at 10:00 am |

    CONTINUATION/Part II: Our government enjoys sticking their nose on everything that goes on outside the U.S. and forget that they are supposed to take care of us, Americans, who fought and have shed their blood for the freedom of this nation. It is just so unbelievable and so sad that our country, the U.S. of A, have turned their backs to their own people and because of their mistakes, errors, and lack of caring, they now want to take their frustrations on us, the people who pay for their taxesand the freedom that they enjoy today. I'm a man that truly believes in God and, I pray that God will bring conviction to the hearts of those that have forgotten where they came from. At least, I know for sure that even though our own government is against us, God is not. May God bless and take cares of this nation who has forgotten about us, the Americans. Today, it is all about them, not us.

    May God help us all, a concern American, someone who cares,
    U.S. Navy Retiree/Veteran

  192. Retired_USMC_enlisted | March 5, 2014 at 10:01 am |

    I have a huge problem with how our benifits are being stripped away from us. And in these past 5 years it has been at an increasing rate. First off I lost prime back in Oct. I just found out that I can waive the drive time waiver for specialty care and re-enroll in Prime. I re-enrolled in prime, chose a pcm 5 miles from my home onlyt to get my packet in the mail showing I have been given a PCM 53 miles away. I live in Springfield mo. A well populated area with a small sized reserve/active duty base. Those currently enlisted can utilize that pcm five miles away however for retirees this is no longer a Prime service area and the closest MTF is Fort Wood which is 103 miles away. So the PCM they gave me is the closest to me within the 40 miles distance of the MTF. If I want to keep costs down for myself and my family then this is the course I must take. If I choose standard then even with my benifit of serving this once great nation I will pay 80% more out of pocket then the leeches who have refused to work and illegal’s will. The ones who sit on there ass and collect month after month and teach their children to do the same can walk right down the street and get the help they need while I will have to drive an Hour each way just to be seen and can drive more than 100 miles for specialty care. I don’t recall being told any of this when I chose to stay in for the medical benifit aspect. Isn’t that one of the reasons we were ok with making less than minimum wage at many times because we were more concerned about the long term outcome and not the short term. More and More people are getting screwed all over this Once great Nation and I expect at this rate we’ll be having our very own revelution before long. Crazy to think Veterans will be fighting to take down a country they fought many years to protect. My family will not live in a socialist state!

  193. When making your cuts leave TRICARE alone go after the biggest fraud this country has EVER HAD WELFARE make these people get out and get a JOB.

  194. Alan Kaplan | March 5, 2014 at 10:48 am |

    Stop blaming congress for these cuts. You have a President who despises the military and a Secretary of Defense who is lucky to have any kind of a job. If you want to place blame, that's where it belongs.

    Retired USAF

  195. Capt. America | March 5, 2014 at 11:36 am |

    With the way things are going, (the way the "people" are getting screwed), keep your guns close and the ammo closer.

  196. As a dependant wife of a career soldier, 30 years, I too think we are being screwed*for a better word) My husband has also seen the light, with this President, and,Congress. What he has predicterd is coming to Pass. Stick it to the Military, retired and Active Duty, they have No Choice but to accept the Changes, Done!! But, we should be Protesting, I wish I lived in Washington, I would be the First to be standing in Front of the White House protesting The Abuse of The Military, Active and Retired!! I wish they would go live with a Retired Person, or, active duty to see what Lives we have Lived, and, are Living as Military Families, The sacrifices we have made!! And, continue to Make!! He is a disgrace to Our Great country and it is not getting any better!! Nuff said!!

  197. OK, so the 2013 Def Auth Act by law directs DOD to reinstitute retirees who were forced out of Tricare Prime on a one time deal. Now DOD is attempting to bypass that law by ending Tricare Prime and now instituting a fee for retiree medical care under Tricare Standard. However, the basis for DOD past actions to eliminate Tricare Prime for retirees was that by law DOD, under Tricare Standard, provided the contractual free medical care promised to those who served 20 years or more. Now DOD wants to start charging for Tricare Standard? With all of DOD's previous statements and legal briefings that Standard is the default free medical promised to retirees both constitutionally and contractually, how can they now state that they can now charge for the service? Sounds like a very good Class-Action lawsuit by every military retiree still alive…

  198. Spouse of retiree
    The government is closing down all the Tricare offices in the US effective March 31st. The only option is to go on line or call. Good luck!

  199. Bob Stuhlmann | March 6, 2014 at 12:27 am |

    Cut the benefits to the presidents, congress and the senate. Most don't serve 20 years. Give them 2 1/2 percent per year in retirement if they serve 20 years and something similar to what a soldiers gets if they don't serve 20 years. Also, cut the millions of dollars that the president, his family and guests spend on the extravagant vacations and unnecessary travel. The political leaders took away the benefits that were promised the military when I got in in 1966. They explained their changes by saying "It wasn't the law no matter what you were promised".
    Welfare is one of the big problems in this country. There are not enough people checking and enforcing the rules in the system. You have people throwing them more money and free items than many young couples get by working. Send more people to check where they live and see who all actually lives there. You will find boyfriends, fathers of the children not paying a dime to support the kids and other relatives living there off of the tax payers. Can't do that? Oh, I forgot, that is how they buy votes. While checking the idiots, look at all of the fancy cars with the low profile tires and expensive rims in the parking lots of subsidized housing free housing areas. Go to Wal Mart and see who uses the welfare cards and then go to the parking lot and see their SUV, Jaguar, BMW or some other rig. What a life! The system is broken and the law makers broke it. The don't and won't fix it. Votes!! Get some one to run this country that can. It will take a long time to fix the damage the current administration has done and is continuing to do. No illegals. Quit paying them for coming to the U.S. No foreign exchange students from countries that hate us and mistreat Christian people in their countries. Sorry, this country gets no cigar – only the ashes and butts.

  200. H> Webster | March 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |

    Personally, I feel that the President, Congress * the President's Cabinet should reap the same benefits that the Retired Military receive( 2 1/2 %) of their base pat AFTER 20 years service, Not after 1 term or whatever for the congressional personnel. Then they should also be required to pay into Social Security and reap the same benefits that we middle class people receive after donating all our lives.

  201. I cannot even begin to say how disgusted I am with this whole situation..I am the surviving spouse of a 20 year USAF M/SGT. His CONTRACT with the AF was that when he retired he would get his retirement and his medical care. He did receive his retirement and I now have TRICARE FOR LIFE..I AM 71 years old and now they are going to change things again…what realllllly disgusts me is seeing people begging for money for care for our veterans——-OMGRACIOUS,,this should NEVER HAVE TO HAPPEN….they have served their time, and should be covered TOTALLY…AND our GOV'T???? Why do they get those TREMENDOUS SALARIES, SERVE ONE TERM,,COLLECT THAT ENORMOUS SALARY FOR THEIR LIFETIME, AND HAVE A MEDICAL INSURANCE that only can be imagined by the regular civilian??? This is one of the MOST UNFAIR INEQUALITIES of our whole system.. Pay them what a military man would get,,give he/she what a military man/woman would get when they retire, this would wipe out our budget deficit in no time.

  202. Joseph Gollie | March 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm |

    Sucks

  203. liberals hate the military,this is no secret. please turn out the election and vote the criminals out of office,god bless america

  204. Lets all put a picture of Obuma and a picture of our favorite Congressional jackass on a dart board and start having some fun.

  205. said he got a letter from DOD telling him he was no longer welcome and to get his med level checked where he lived oh over 100 miles away. Now they say if you live over 40 miles away they don't want you. The time I called and wanted to speak to my doctor on my phone only to be told the computers where down. Ask if the young airman had a pencil and a piece of paper he said yes, ask him if he knew how to write which he said he did. Ask him to take a message for the doctor. After 2 weeks and not getting an answer I stopped in while getting some meds only to be told the DOCTOR WHO I WANTED TO SPEAK TO HAD BEEN FOR 6 MONTHS, AND SINCE I HAD NOT BEEN SEEN IN THAT CLINIC ONLY TELEPHONE CONTACT I WAS NO LONGER IN THE SYSTEM AND COULD NOT BE SEEN . SINCE THEN I AM 100 % CIVILIAN DOCTORS. WHERE I IF I AM NOT SICK I DONT HAVE TO SEE THE DOCTOR SO I CAN SEE HIM WHEN I AM NOT SICK

  206. SORRY FOR THE ABOVE AS MY PC WENT DOWN

  207. Billy CMSgt Ret. | March 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm |

    This is getting to be quite asinine. For those of us who were serving on active duty when we moved to an all volunteer force and listened to the reasons this was necessary, it's difficult to feel anything other than betrayal. We who retired more than 20 years ago, and who began our service when the base pay was so low that we qualified for welfare, yet continued to re-up because we believed there was a future in a military retirement, we have to be so disappointed. We have a group of leaders who have lost touch with the reality of military retirement and see it as well as the Social Security we earned as an "entitlement" (bad word?). That attitude is so wrong. Social Security and Military Retirement are an entitlement and that's a good word. It's an entitlement we've earned. What do they think they're getting for their service in the Congress? Is that entitlement a good or bad thing? The point is we should be able to depend on our government keeping it's promises. We kept ours!

  208. As I read all the comments and the outrage about the cutting of benefits it only reinforces what I have been saying for years…VOTE THE INCUMBENTS OUT EVERY ELECTION!! It's time for the American voters to understand and realize that politicians in Washington do not serve "all the people" they only serve those who fill their pockets with our money and themselves. We will never see any congress pass term limits on themselves, so the only way to get the message to them is to get rid of them every election. By voting the incumebnts out until the most senior person in congress has less than four years there we can enforce our own term limits.

  209. dennis willaby | March 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm |

    I guess the war is over and we don't need our soldiers any longer, so lets take the benefits they were led to believe was one of the benefits they earned for risking their lives so that those that haven't served and those of us that made it with miner harm can be comfortable.
    Perhaps charges need to be made for future soldiers, but for those have reached retirement age and planned for the current plan into our retirement plans are not in a position for changes,
    Drugs are already take a good share of the retirement dollars.

    Those of you making these cut, ask yourself if you would be willing to give up a portion of your health and retirement benefits? Remember we the people (I would like to think we the people elected those whom passed these bill, expected you to take them away, as you sit and take them from those who served and lost their lives or became injured and unable to find a job because of these injuries).

    I beg of you to look at the pork as it is called, before you take away promised benefits.

    Thank you, I hope you read this, you civil servants whom I hope read this, you may be in the same position someday, thinking our government (I hope) will live up to the benefits you think you earned, or are you on the same health and retirement benefits as those whom hired you?

  210. USAF FST SGT Retired | April 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |

    I have said this in other blogs but it is worth repeating. When I was on active duty putting my health and life on the line the bean counters at DOD considered me cost effective but now that I am retired and my body begins to fail me they want to balance their budget in part at my expense. My wife and I have several health issues so we watch our pennies and live off of my military retirement and a small VA check. In an attempt to clean their conscious and make what they want to do sound more acceptable the DOD came up with the magic title of "Working Age Military Retiree" for those like me who are under age 65. Nice title and they go after this group without even considering their health and ability to supplement their retirement pay. Please DOD just give me a few more years and I promise I won't cost you a penny but I must report that my wife will probably cost you for a few more years after that. Shame on this Administration, the DOD and the yes men at the JCS.

  211. In the days of old, the king and his court led the charge.

    How much would change if the President and Congress were on the front line, leading us into war?

  212. No mention of overseas TriCare, it is in shambles here in Philippines, the place I chose to retire, if more that the Medicare charge is forthcoming for us retirees here, I will opt out of Tricare for Life completely. Phil Health is much easier to use here, and well cost per year is not even what Medicare cost per month, to stay enrolled in TriCare for Health, Tricare if the worst plan I have ever seen the government in U.S. overseas to get involved with, full of corruption, lies,. and lucky if you get 20 percent back from your payments to Hospitals or Drs. here. No thank you TriCare, you are a mess…………..harold

  213. Concerned wife | August 25, 2014 at 2:52 pm |

    SO WERE DO THE FAMILIES COME INTO PLAY? WHEN THE SOLDIER GOES TO WAR TO SERVE AND PROTECT JUST LIKE THEY SIGNED UP TO DO. THE MILITARY DOES NOT GET PAID WHAT THEY SHOULD TO PROTECT THE OVER PAID LIERS, TRADERS, NONE SERVING INDIVIDUALS THAT MAKES ALL THESE DECISIONS. WE CAN'T HAVE HOUSE KEEPERS, NANNIES, ALL THE FINE THINGS IN LIFE THAT WOULD MAKE THINGS EASY IN LIFE. WE DONT. WE RAISE OUR CHILDREN WHILE THE SOLDIER IS GONE AT WAR WE KEEP THEIR FAMILY SAFE AND HEALTHY AT HOME. WE MAY NOT BE ON THE FRONT LINE BUT WE SERVE AS WELL. THE SAYING IS. BE HIND A GREAT SOLDIER IS A GREAT WIFE AND FAMILY. WHY TAKE THE MEANS FROM THE SOLDIER TO SUPPORT HIS FAMILY ? BUT THIS IS THE NORMAL THING FOR YOU IF YOU WILL NOTIFY A SOLDIER THEY ARE GETTING KICKED OUT WHILE THEY ARE AT WAR YOU WILL NOTIFY HIM THAT YOU ARE CUTTING HIS FAMILIES MEDICAL BENIFITS.

  214. Harold Thompson Red | October 12, 2014 at 12:14 am |

    I think it would hurt the retirees if they tried. Because this was what was promissed us when we served out 20 years. I am on TRICARE for Life and have made good use of it. So I think it would be a mistake to change it.

  215. I proudly served for over 20 yrs and retired and chose TriCare Prime last year I had to buy addition al healthcare at my job inorder to offset the costs that Tricare Standard does not cover now you want me to pay even more for Tricare that does not cover what I need. Seem that there should be something for those of us that gave 20 yrs or more of our lives to support and defend our great nation, not to mention cover our families who sacrificed along with us. There should be a retiree healthcare plan that covers us 100% its a small price to give those who have served, we already take a cut in our pay.

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