The Obama Administration plans to force active duty service members and veterans off the military’s current health care plan, Tricare, and into ObamaCare’s state-run healthcare exchanges by increasing Tricare premiums between 30 percent to 78 percent the first year and a crushing 94 percent to 345 percent every five years thereafter.
Obama’s plan, which is sparking a major controversy within the Pentagon, is set to go into effect after the 2012 presidential election and will not apply to unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits.
The Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz reports that, “According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048,” thereby all but guaranteeing service members and vets will be forced to enter ObamaCare.
Sources close to the controversy fear the radical healthcare restructuring will significantly hurt military recruitment:
“We shouldn’t ask our military to pay our bills when we aren’t willing to impose a similar hardship on the rest of the population,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.”
The 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are vowing to fight the Obama Administration’s proposed healthcare scheme:
“A secure America needs a strong military,” he said, “and whether one serves honorably for four years or 40, messing with military pay and benefits is a clear signal to the troops and their families that the budget is more important than people. That is going to seriously hurt recruiting and retention, and potentially end the all-volunteer force, because nobody wants to work for an ungrateful employer in a vocation as inherently dangerous as ours.”
The move by the Obama Administration comes on the heels of announcing it plans to gut $487 billion in Pentagon spending.
By squeezing service members and veterans out of Tricare and into ObamaCare through significantly higher Tricare premiums, the Obama Administration believes it can pinch $1.8 billion from Tricare in fiscal 2013 and $12.9 billion by 2017.
By comparison, Mr. Obama spent $20.5 billion on his Department of Energy green energy grants and loans program, 80 percent of which went to companies owned or tied to Mr. Obama’s top fundraisers.
Congressional hearings on the ObamaCare military restructuring begin next month.