Wednesday, January 18, 2006
With each passing day, it is becoming abundantly clear the Bush administration cares very little about the welfare of veterans.
The Virginian-Pilot is reporting on the insolent attempt to raise health premiums for "military retirees" beyond the breaking point.
According to the Pilot, "the Pentagon hopes to reap billions of dollars to pay for ships, aircraft and other weapons by doubling or tripling health insurance premiums..."
Of course, this is antipodal to previous commitments by military reenlistment officers of lifelong health benefits upon retirement.
Such huge premium hikes are counterproductive to America's war on terror -- er -- Islamic extremism; but hey, King George wants to save $$$ so he can give tax breaks to his rich buddies.
The Pilot notes any premium increase will make it harder for the armed forces to recruit new boots; and also tick off the men and women who honorably served their country in times of war and peace.
Although the Pentagon refused to confirm the news story, the director of a retiree military activist group, Steve Strobridge said "several independent sources [have] provided" a draft of "proposed increases."
And just how much more will the retired soldiers have to pay...?
The Military Officers Association of America, "with 370,000 members...asserts that by 2009, the Pentagon wants to more than triple the annual premiums paid by retired officers younger than 65 for coverage under Tricare Prime, the military's premier health insurance program."
Get out your wallets, military veterans. What else did you expect from a cabal of Chickenhawks who only use you for photo opportunities...?
That would raise those costs to $750 per year for individuals from today’s $230 and to $1,500 from $460 per year for families.
Tricare Prime premiums for retired enlisted members younger than 65 would roughly double during the same period, the retiree groups say, as would the deductibles charged both officer and enlisted retirees participating in Tricare
Standard, a less-generous, fee-for-service program. F or the first time, retirees would be charged an annual enrollment fee of as much as $300 for family coverage for Tricare Standard.
Not convinced, well Soldiers for Truth is reporting that soldiers who buy body armor to try to save their hide could lose their life insurance benefits if they are killed.
James Miller, former secretary of the Navy under the Reagan administration and Vietnam war veteran points out in a recent New York Times editorial, the administration could care less about veterans. Just witness the "swiftboating" of Vietnam War veterans when they crossed Bush and his merry band of four-flushers,
[S]oldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies.
The war in Iraq may not be especially popular with foot soldiers; and the smearing of McCain, Gore, Clellan, Kerry and now Murtha must certainly leave more than a few GI's wondering if their service to nation means anything. But heretofore, health care benefits and death benefits were sacrosanct. No more!
Spinmeisters who support the plan say retirees are still getting a great deal in relationship to the private sector.
Well how about the fact soldiers often placed life and limb in jeopardy to go off and fight in less than noble wars...?
Cindy Williams, a former Congressional Budget Office analyst now teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that because most service members retire while relatively young and take civilian jobs, they do not have to rely on the military for health insurance.
Thousands opt not to give up their military coverage, however, because Tricare’s relatively low fees encourage them to stay in the military system, Williams said.
Veterans are finding out the hard way their born-again cowboy in the White House speaks with a forked tongue. They have been swindled, duped, hoodwinked...
A military career demands sacrifices that very few other Americans are willing to put up with – and for 20 to 30 years,” said Strobridge . “Today’s retirees made those sacrifices. Military retirees paid far more for their health care than any civilian.
Strobridge and other retiree advocates also argue that the Bush administration can hardly claim retiree benefits are unaffordable while it continues to push for billions of dollars per year in tax cuts.
But don't worry; you're not the only ones. Just get even.
Take it from Bushologists, this is the administration's modus operandi in their alternative world at Potemkin Village. Now go out and vote for Democrats in '06; and when those pesky overseas ballots are counted, let's turn swing and red states blue.
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