We need to make sure we are doing everything we can for our veterans, our active military members and be properly prepared for those that will be coming home over the next several years from Afghanistan and Iraq. But we face serious problems. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a backlog of 897,566 disability claims with more than 65% pending for more than 125 days. This is not acceptable and is demonstrative of what happens when we are spending our tax dollars in the wrong places.
The Military Tricare Health Plan is not living up to the needs and expectations of our service men and women. Tricare enrollment fee’s and deductible hikes and increased co-pay for pharmaceutical etc. by military retirees and their families is expected to save $23B phased in over ten years with most of the increases being borne by the retiree’s. (Even larger saving’s-$28B-over the same period if the use of alternative prescription providers was passed.) Tricare is used as an inducement for service personnel to remain in the military. In fact, the entire military pension and benefits system represents a contractual obligation incurred by the government to retain skilled military personnel who would have been lost to higher paying civilian jobs if this re-up option wasn’t in place. We need to stop spending so much. But we don’t need to do it by shaving a half trillion out of defense spending, leaving our military members with unkept promises.
The men and women who voluntarily don a uniform are doing so for us, let’s live up to the expectations they have when you are wearing the uniform of the greatest country on Earth.
I will work very hard to restore necessary funding to programs for the health, safety and well being of active military as well as retires.