Hmmm, gee I wonder why no one is calling for budget cuts in Political or Presidential pay ?
All the money being squandered on keeping former Presidents comfortable and politicians receiving Gold plan medical care.
But it’s the money used for Veterans and Military pay that are breaking the bank , RIGHT?
Sure it is ……..
Obama Urges Congress to Support Tricare Fees
On Monday the White House pressed the Pentagon to rein in Tricare costs and begin a new round of base closings as the Senate took up the National Defense Authorization Act on the military’s 2014 budget.
There are a number of areas of agreement with the initial markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the NDAA, but the administration “has serious concerns with certain provisions,” Office of Management and Budget officials said in a lengthy response to the markup.
OMB called on SASC to control Tricare costs at the Department of Defense “while keeping retired beneficiaries’ share of these costs well below the levels experienced when the Tricare program was implemented in the mid-1990s.”
Slowing the growth of Tricare costs would result in savings of $902 million in fiscal year 2014 and $9.3 billion through fiscal year 2018. Those savings were needed to offset projected increases in personnel costs, OMB said.
President Obama has proposed slowing this growth by introducing a new set of enrollment fees and higher co-pays to retirees under the age of 65.
The Pentagon proposed an annual enrollment fee based on a percentage of retired pay for Medicare-eligible retirees in the Tricare For Life Program. Working age retirees in the Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra programs also would face new annual enrollment fees phased in over five years.
New budget cut options include military pay, veterans
Military members, retirees and veterans have a few more reasons to be wary of politicians who say their top priority is to cut federal spending.
The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a report of more than 100 options for reducing budget deficits. It’s a timely product as House and Senate conferees strive to negotiate by mid-December a new debt-cutting deal to replace automatic budget cuts of sequestration.
More than a few of the CBO options are fresh ideas to roll back compensation for categories of veterans or to raise TRICARE fees for military retirees, on suggestions that the government is being too generous.
To be fair, CBO is not singling out veterans here. There are options in the report to make nervous many segments of society dependent on federal payments, from social security recipients to drug manufacturers.
But for select veterans’ programs, CBO makes some hard-edged points that lawmakers bent on cutting spending might find compelling, if not persuasive, to help address the nation’s debt crisis.
Here are some of those ideas:
Cap Military Pay Raises – From 2000 through 2010, Congress approved basic pay raises that averaged a half percentage point above private sector wage growth. The military could save $25 billion from 2015 to 2023 by reversing course, capping raises yearly at .5 percent below civilian wage growth. CBO predicts only a “minor” effect on force retention.
Evidence in favor of this move are data showing cash compensation for enlisted members now exceeds wages of 90 percent of civilian counterparts, well above the Defense Department’s goal of keeping service pay ahead of 70 percent of civilians of similar age and educational background. CBO says officer compensation exceeds 86 percent of private sector peers.
The case against capping raises is that recruiting and retention goals could be compromised, CBO says, and smaller raises also dampen other elements of military compensation including retirement annuities.
Raise TRICARE Fees – CBO floats two options to have military retirees pay more for health care. One is to have TRICARE-for-Life users — retirees, spouses and survivors age 65 and older — pay the first $550 of costs not covered by Medicare and then 50 percent of the next $4950. CBO says this would slow TRICARE costs by $31 billion from 2015 to 2023 but also save Medicare dollars as older beneficiaries seek fewer health services.
The drawback is some TLF users might not seek needed preventive care or manage their chronic conditions as closely as they do now.
The second option targets “working age” retirees and families enrolled in TRICARE Prime by raising fees, deductibles and co-pays in a complex combination too detailed to describe here. The Prime changes for retirees could save from $2 billion to $11 billion by 2023, depending on final details.