Hagel and Lautenberg Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Cap Healthcare Costs for Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserves, Retirees and Their Families
February 15th, 2007 -
WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced today the Military Health Care Protection Act, a bill to place reasonable and affordable caps on enrollment fees, deductibles and pharmacy co-payments for more than an estimated six million active duty military personnel, National Guard, Reserves, retirees and their families.
The fiscal year 2007 Pentagon budget would triple health fees for nearly two million military retirees under age 65 and their dependents. The Hagel-Lautenberg bill will block the following proposed increases in military health care costs:
• Raising the $230 single/$460 family TRICARE Prime enrollment fee to as high as $700 and $1,400, respectively.
• Raising the annual $150 single/$300 family TRICARE Standard fees to as high as $560 and $1,120, respectively.
In addition, under the Pentagon’s proposed budget, retail pharmacy co-pays would be raised 67 percent for all active duty military personnel, National Guard, Reserves, retirees and their families.
“America’s career military service members make tremendous sacrifices in service to our country. We cannot burden our military retirees and their families with dramatic increases in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. It is wrong to increase healthcare fees on the men and women who have already contributed greatly to our nation before addressing current inefficiencies in the TRICARE system,” Senator Chuck Hagel said.
“We need to provide our troops with the best equipment money can buy. But we also must provide them and their families, as well as those who have retired, the best quality healthcare at the most affordable price,” Senator Frank R. Lautenberg said. “If we tell our soldiers and sailors it is their duty to protect America, it is our duty to provide for them when they return and retire.”
The Hagel-Lautenberg legislation also establishes that the percentage of increase in retirees’ health fees in any given year should not exceed the percentage of increase in their compensation.
Vice Admiral Norb Ryan, President of the Military Officers Association of America, and Joe Barnes, National Exec Secretary of the Fleet Reserve Association, joined Hagel and Lautenberg to introduce the Military Health Care Protection Act.
“We’re extremely grateful to Senators Hagel and Lautenberg for sponsoring this legislation to protect military beneficiaries,” said Vice Admiral Norb Ryan, Jr. (USN-Ret), President of the Military Officers Association of America. “Their bill offers an important reminder that active duty, Guard, Reserve, and retired servicemembers have paid far greater premiums for their health coverage than any other segment of our society—and prepaid them up front, through decades of arduous service and sacrifice.”
A coalition of 35 military associations have pledged their support for the bill.