The military is not yet excluded from the ObamaCare goat screw.
Background: On March 18, 2010, just days before the House votes on the Democrats’ government takeover of health care, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) announced he would introduce legislation to preemptively state that TRICARE and the Department of Defense non-appropriated fund (NAF) health plans meet all of the health care requirements currently under consideration by Congress for individual health insurance. TRICARE and the NAF health plans programs provide health coverage to members of the military and their families, military retirees and their families, and employees of U.S. military post/base exchanges. Chairman Skelton even stated he would also insert this legislative language into the national defense authorization bill, reiterating the threat the health care bill currently poses to military health plans. This is an explicit admission that the final Democrat health care bill does not protect these plans.
Military Protections Scrapped: The Senate-passed health care bill, which the House is expected to “deem” passed on March 21, 2010, omitted protections for military health plans that were included in the House bill. Specifically, the Senate language does not appear to give the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) health care system specific protection from interference by other government agencies administering the various authorities contained in the massive bill, as it pertains to “minimum essential coverage.” The minimum essential coverage language in the Senate bill does cover “the veterans health care program under chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code,” but it is unclear whether that covers veterans’ survivors and dependents.
The final bill would leave it up to a bureaucrat at the Department of the Treasury to determine whether TRICARE meets the minimum standards under the Democrats’ individual health insurance mandate. If that bureaucrat decides against TRICARE, service members and their families would have to buy some other health coverage or pay a penalty.
In an effort to bolster support for the House health care takeover back in August 2009, the White House advertised that bill’s exemption for 9.2 million military personnel, families, and retirees covered under TRICARE and the military health plan.
In August, the White House website stated that:
“Health reform legislation that is being considered would enable those who are covered by TRICARE to meet the shared responsibility requirement for individuals to have insurance, thereby exempting such members of the uniformed services and dependants from being assessed penalties. If enacted, the President will ensure that this exemption is implemented aggressively.”
Of course, the final health care bill does not include this promised exemption for military plans.
Congressman Promises to Protect TRICARE
3/19/10 – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) intends to introduce legislation to explicitly state in law that TRICARE meets all of the health care requirements currently under consideration by Congress for individual health insurance. Although the health care reform legislation passed by the House explicitly exempted TRICARE from being affected, the Senate bill did not include such specific language presuming that existing IRS Code language is sufficient protection for TRICARE, and the parliamentary rules of the reconciliation process underway this weekend did not allow for the inclusion of the House language that specifically protects TRICARE. Skelton said he will also include the language in the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act.
For those who are unfamiliar with Tricare:
TRICARE is the Department of Defense’s worldwide health care program for active duty and retired uniformed services members and their families.
TRICARE consists of TRICARE Prime, a managed care option; TRICARE Extra, a preferred provider option; and TRICARE Standard, a fee-for-service option. TRICARE For Life is also available for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries age 65 and over. http://militaryfinance.umuc.edu/insurance/health_insurance.html
We earned those medical benefits through our service and the taxes we paid. There is a network of Tricare physicians, but we have a choice as to which ones we see. No one interferes with the decisions we make with our doctors, in regard to treatment and care.
I can see the Dems passing this ObamaCare clusterfuck and screwing over the active duty military, reserves, and retirees while they’re at it.