USDR Action Alert
Let’s Make Sure that VA and DOD Health Care are Excluded from HR 3590
Amendment Required to Exclude from Reform
I am deeply concerned about the health care bill, H.R. 3590, that is being considered by the Senate. I am most alarmed there is no provision that expressly protects Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense health-care which fulfills President Obama’s promise last August that neither program would “be affected by our efforts at broader health-care reform.”
Unless TRICARE, TRICARE for Life, and VA health care programs are exempted from a proposed excise tax, veterans and military retirees face the very real prospect of paying a new tax on so-called “Cadillac” health care plans, which TRICARE and VA health-care could easily be considered. As has been pointed out by a number of federal employee labor unions, such a tax would “have a discriminatory impact on plans that cover older workers and retirees …” Such excise tax could result in a tax increase of as much as 1.4 percent on veterans and military retirees and our widows, many of whom are retired on fixed incomes with no way to offset that additional tax other than by cutting back elsewhere in their family budgets.
VA and TRICARE health-care programs are hard earned benefits – earned through sacrifice and service and promised by a grateful nation that understands that taking care of veterans and military retirees is a cost of defending our nation. Not only would taking away these benefits break a promise made to those who served our nation in the Uniformed Services, it would threaten the viability of the all-volunteer force because it breaks faith with those who serve based in part on the promises that were made to them when they enlisted.
I urge you to immediately seek an amendment to H.R. 3590 to make it clear that nothing in the act shall interfere with VA or DOD existing authorities and that VA and DOD health care programs (TRICARE and TRICARE for Life) are excluded from any excise tax on health care programs.
If H.R. 3950 is not amended then I urge you to vote AGAINST this legislation when it comes to the floor for a vote.