Press Release: Legion Commander says higher premiums, annual fees for military retirees are ultimately a threat to national security.

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Press Release: Legion Commander says higher premiums, annual fees for military retirees are ultimately a threat to national security.

The American Legion sternly opposes plans to increase out-of-pocket health-care costs for military retirees, American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong said after learning that the White House recommends increasing TRICARE premiums and charging new annual fees to help reduce the federal deficit.

“President Obama told more than 10,000 Legionnaires at our national convention less than a month ago that the budget would not be balanced on the backs of veterans,” Wong said. “Military retirees are veterans. And their benefits, including TRICARE medical insurance, cannot be milked to make ends meet. Make no mistake about it. This is an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of veterans. Military retirees are a small target in the middle of a big problem. They should not be asked to forfeit any of their health-care benefits to solve it. ”

The Washington Post reported this week that the administration’s deficit-reduction plan would raise TRICARE co-payments for pharmaceuticals to put them more in line with coverage provided to other federal employees and begin charging a first-ever $200 annual enrollment fees for TRICARE For Life, a Medicare supplement, beginning in 2013.

“We fully understand the federal deficit crisis, but when you start stripping benefits for military retirees, you affect more than the budget – you affect national security,” Wong said. “Not only is such a reduction a breach of contract with our current military retirees, it is a disincentive for anyone willing to make a career of military service. Those who serve our nation in uniform, and swear with their lives to protect our freedoms, are not the same as ordinary government employees.”

Wong added that the same argument applies to plans for a new commission to examine ways to change the current military retirement system and bring it more in line with other federal careers.

“These are not ordinary government jobs,” said Wong, a retired U.S. Army chief warrant officer. “The sacrifices of those who make careers in the Armed Forces include life-threatening combat, long deployments separated from family, multiple transitions from duty station to duty station, and anything else the nation asks. America has the world’s strongest military because good men and women have made commitments to careers in the military knowing they will be rewarded with a decent retirement in the end.

“Any commission examining this issue in order to reduce the cost of military retirement will inherently search for ways to reduce the value of the benefit,” Wong added. “That’s not good for military retirees. Moreover, it’s not good for America’s national security.”


Just for some added depth to this, I want to include here what I had said previously, so you guys can have access to the source documents etc.  Here is my earlier post:

I’ve been trying to figure out all day how I could get out of posting this.  As certain as the sun rising, it getting colder in winter, and the Patriots beating Buffalo, so is it certain that I will get emails on this one that fall into two almost equal groups.  Half the people will cite my post as evidence that the Legion is in bed with the GOP (we are not), and the other half of my hate mail will claim that this is what we get for supporting a Kenyan Muslim (he’s neither, and we don't support anyone as an organization.)  Mind you, these emailers make up less than 1% of all readers, but that doesn’t make it any better when I get deluged.

So, in finest Sgt. Joe Friday “Just the fact’s ma’am” tradition….

First, from The Washington Post:

The deficit reduction plan put forth by President Obama on Monday would increase pharmacy co-payments for military beneficiaries and establish a first-ever annual fee in the military’s Tricare for Life health benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees….

Peter Gaytan, executive director of the American Legion, said that while the veterans organization “fully understands” the fiscal crisis, “we don’t feel targeting the small percentage of Americans who have chose to serve our country is the way to solve it.”

And from Stars and Stripes:

Included in the president’s deficit reduction plan unveiled Monday are plans to re-examine the military retirement system, calling the current 20-year requirement “out of line with most other government or private retirement plans.”

As a reminder, my friend Jonn Lilyea reminds us of what President Obama said about this a month ago.  I recommend you fast-forward to the 18 minute mark and start watching from there.

Posted in the burner | 24 comments
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As a military retiree the service to the country that I love cost me my health, my youth and made my children second class citizens while they were growing up. Now they want me to eat dog food, freeze in the winter, stay sick and to just go away and die. Do I not deserve better than this? Did I not EARN my benefits? Were they not promised to me? Did I not EARN more than those who never worked a day in their lives who were nothing but leeches on society.

Not only is the President trying to raise TriCare, but continue the lie that we'll get "free" health care for the rest of our lives. What we were promised during the Vietnam Era, was that our medical care would be free if we reenlisted. Then the lies started when they started charging us for our free medical. Any way you put it or label it, it was a lie. Right after the president was elected, I sent something similar to the White House and was told I wasn't patriotic if I didn't want to pay for my medical care. After all, I volunteered for service. Thank God there were those of us that were raised to love our country. I heard that statement was told to many many veterans. I replied back they needed to walk in our shoes, first.

When I joined the Army in 1968, I did it to serve and protect my Country and to help others. When I came home I was a baby killer, war monger and many other names that I was called that I never thought I would be called everything but a Proud American who served. Well I brushed it off thinking this would brother me. Well it did! When I asked about Agent Orange that we were end and sprayed with, I was told nothing to worry about. Almost 40 years goes by and I have cancer, heart trouble, diabetes and a list of other issues related to AO they said well there is some research that says AO maybe a problem. I think about them that had died over the years and about their children and all the medical trouble they had. Well it gets to me. Now I see one more lie to add to the list of things they are telling our young Troops, "go fight and we will take care of you" They make me sick! They pad their pocket books, spend without responsibility and walk away with all the money they will ever need. Let them try to live on the same retirement, health care and cost of living in fact let them go to war on the front lines instead sitting behind a desk in a safe Country and see how fast things change!

For an individual that is to lead a country - He can't even remember hs Vice Presidents wife's name. He can't even say he is sorry for a slight case of forgetfulness when trying to remember her name - INSTEAD he calls her "the Vice President spouse, Dr Joe Biden" . This is LAME! Not to mention - whomever wrote this speech that he is READING - doesn't get it. The LIES always come back to haunt them. I guess they are STUPID or just DON'T CARE! Just more Crap out of his mouth!

We already pay for Tricare for Life, when we turn 65 years old must sign-up for Medicare Part B. I pay 97dollars a month. this year my wife will need to sign up. When I retire from Civil Service July 2010, keep the Health Ins at 300 dollars per month. Also pay for Dential

This make Medicare as Primary, GEHA as 2nd, then Tri-care as last. They do not pay any claims on myself.


When I was an 18 year old high school grad in 1940, the Great Depression was not quite over, so much like today, there was both an ongoing war (with a question as to how soon the US would be in it - many Americans already were) and a waiting list for youngsters seeking to enlist. The promise was - and still is - "serve and we will take care of you and yours." Thus I "served" for 34 years and survived through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, much of it at great, uncompensated separation and other related costs to my family. When my wife of 60 years (a Naturalized American citizen) became critically (and then terminally) ill during a visit to Japan, her homeland, the best Tricare and our so-called and often-promised "free lifetime health care" (for which were then paying $2,316 a year from my retirement pay) would do was to recommend, "Get your family and friends to help get her back home on commercial airlines because neither the military nor Tricare can med-evac her."

We are all being forced to accept broken promises. The country is broken, and sinking fast . The blame can be placed on decades of political mismanagement. Social security was contributed to, not an entitlement, as were most pensions. Congress' greed is unsurpassed. Stop whining and accept your share of the burden. Kick out all of the congress and start over.


I'll be so GLAD when the IDIOT is GOOOOOONE!!!!!!

According to the New York Times, military and military retiree health and pension benefits are part of our national social welfare system (NYT, 20 SEP). Although my initial military pay was probably less than welfare payments, I'd prefer not to return to that. What part of NOT CIVILIAN don't these idiots understand? If they want to compare military and civilian pension and compensation, might I suggest that we immediately transfer all White House and Congressional staffs to some armpit of the world for a short notice, unaccompanied tour of duty subject to any extension. Maybe then they would understand.

I fill that the president should have to pay for all of his health care. Congress should have to pay for their. I also belive that the president shouldn't get his retirement until he has completed his 20 years and also congress too.

If memory serves, this issue was settled some years ago.. When I reported for active dutyin 1958, my government told me that if I survived twenty years of service, my medical, dental, and optical needs would be provided. When I retired, our loving government said I couldn't get optical, and my medical and dental would have to be on a space-available basis. Having a very good package in my new career, I never needed my benefits, and just before I hit 65, the government tried to delete all care, saying it was "too expensive". Some Old Sarge, bless his packrat nature, had kept every piece of GI paper he ever received, showed what his recruitment flyers promised, and a court determined that military medical benefits are a CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION, and made them give it back.
The greater shame is that a government would so break faith with its protectors. Those currently (temporarily) in power are so lacking in honor of any kind that they deserve the opprobrium of every citizen, permanently. I'd like to stay alive long enough to spit on every one of their graves. (That's if I have any spit left after Hanoi Jane's.....)

I cannot even begin to say how disgusted I am by a President who is no better than a lying car salesmen who only cares about being a celebrity, what part of his oath to protect the country and stand behind the men and women who have sacrificed thier families and lives, I joined the the Army because this country and the people who live here mean everything, but I am just about done caring and if another country wanted to attack the White House and take them all out I would just sit back and drink a beer. It is impossible to get behind a government that would rather pay the slugs of society to sit on their butts and drink shlitz beer while the rest of us suffer, and what really pains me to say is that after 22 years of military service I am regretting I ever signed up.

Hey mftnes50, I take exception to your statement that the President who is "no better than a lying car salesmen" But the rest of your comment was spot on...
BTW, I never had to lie about anything to sell the product, just had to make sure it was the "Real McCoy"
And that was undoubtedly the worst speech I've ever heard out of his mouth, imagine that, to the Legion no less. And about the American Veterans...???

Don’t think that it is only the President who is considering higher TRICARE fees for veterans and, especially, for retirees. After hearing President Obama’s speech to the American Legion convention I wrote to my Senators and Congressman with my desire that they listen to the President’s speech and, as the President put it, “not balance the budget on the backs of our veterans.” Unfortunately the only response I received, from Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, simply confirmed my fears that the words of the President do not even mean anything, even to the members of his own party. When I read Senator Warner’s reply and saw “Our fiscal situation is going to require shared sacrifice, and everything must be on the table” I became very sure that not only were the projected TRICARE hikes going to become a reality but I had better watch all my benefits. Although the battle may not lost, we are in dire straits. I encourage everyone to contact your elected officials, especially my fellow Virginians to contact Senator Warner, and express your concerns! Remind them that veterans are also voters (and there are a lot of us!). Although the President’s speech sounded nice, the reality is that very few of those who hold office in Washington now have ever stood up for their country and served even a day in the military. They, like the President, really have no idea what sacrifices are made daily by those in the military and by our families. Those of us who sacrificed for 20 years or more now seem to be in the crosshairs. Take away TRICARE Prime for retirees, bump up the cost of prescription medications, and add a fee for TRICARE for Life. If this is not trying to balance the budget on the backs of our veterans I don’t know what it is. Again, make sure you contact your elected officials with your concerns or this may just be the beginning…

You are spot on with this comment. I have contacted our elected representatives, and received no responses concerning the raise to Tricare Premiums. However, the blame does not only lie with the president, it also falls on Congress. We need to get all of them out of office to get some new fresh ideas on how to handle the debt, etc. My deal is that I know having served, as you all have, there are better ways to reduce the Defense budget then by just starting to reduce manning and benefits. How many times have you heard "spend it before you lose it" applying to yearly fiscal funds. Then a buying spree goes on, buying equipement, etc, that is not really needed just to spend those funds. Now you can say that is only a small part of it, but when you consider all the departments within the armed forces who do this, I am certain it will come out to be quite of bit of money. And that is just one facet of the wasted spending we did while serving.

Is it not the usual for the Retirees to bail out the Civilian Sector? I also was promised by ABEC Fullbright while in boot camp that if I completed 20 years service in the military I would receive healthcare free for life. I believe in freedom and honor but what happen the the government. Spending social security savings and not repaying them. We should'nt be paying anything for healthcare at all!! We retired with 20 years service as our contracts were filled. Congress has taken back over 50% of my 50% of my retirement. Oh yea Virginia considers retirement as a pension therfore mt ex-wife can take half and all pay-increases from now till I die. I won't make enough to pay for tricare or medicare. HAHA... and still live. It's not unlike the government to ignore its military retirees. Comon you big fat Washington Bureaucrats.Dump Warner useless individual. Vote in some peeps who can do the Americans and the United States some justice. or just wait until the Senate tables the next pay bridge for September 1'st and sell out to China and forclose on America...

The dud that " went off".


If you move the video to time 15:30 and watch how our President commends all the veterans and military he will give us all a nice middle finger at time 15:42,

This is called Subliminal Hand Gesturing. Look it up if you don't believe me.

So we really know the truth what he's thinking don't we.

We can say all we want about what we deserve and not deserve, the reality is that the govt needs to balance the budget. How to go about this is a difficult question. No one want to raise taxes, but no one wants to figure out where to cut. I have served over 23 years in the service, and now realize that my military retirement may not be as safe as I hoped. It is not the Presiden't fault that we are in this tough economic condition. When you want to cut taxes, export job overseas, fund wars that may not make economic sense but sound popular to presses, we are going to end up with huge deficits.

Now lets just figure out how to pay for these big tax cuts we have given the rich and large corporations.


We all signed contracts that included care. Congress gets the best care free after one term
I get the feeling the way we are going we will either have large demonstrations like other countries
we are on shaky ground in getting ourselves from having an overthrow ousting of our current or future dictators in washington Hope I am wrong

I recommend that all 24 million Veterans march on 11/11/11 @ 11:11 AM to protest the cuts to our benefits - local peaceful marches for awareness! Don't let it happen to us!

Vets of all Era's, we need to stand up for ourselves and be heard!! This is slowly and surely descending upon us and were not speaking up loud enough! I'm all for a million veteran march from all walks of life. How to we get this ball rollin? Who's with me?

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.