Agenda - TREA94

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Legislative Affairs

TREA continues to have a busy time in Washington, D.C. In addition to lobbying for new programs and improvements in many existing programs for military retirees and veterans, we had to continually fight to get Congress to reverse the scheduled 25% cut in Medicare/TRICARE payments to doctors. While we helped win a temporary reprieve, the issue still looms and a long-term fix must still be found. What follows is a list of what TREA accomplished in close cooperation with the other members of The Military Coalition and the National Military/Veterans Alliance.

  • Won full funding for Defense health care.

  • Won the fight to prohibit any TRICARE Standard inpatient copay increase.

  • Won the fight in the House of Representatives to give Chapter 61 retirees (medically retired) with less than 20 years of qualified service a phased-in concurrent receipt provision that was funded for one year. Unfortunately, the Senate refused to go along with this.

  • Won extension of TRICARE coverage for dependent children to age 26, but it will require payment of a premium to cover the full cost of coverage.

  • Won 1.4% military pay raise.

  • Won improvements to the Yellow Ribbon Guard/Reserve reintegration program (to include authorizing attendance by family members or other designees of a servicemember).

  • Won legislation that makes it explicit in law that TRICARE constitutes qualifying coverage for national health reform purposes, thus avoiding any question that TRICARE beneficiaries would be subject to penalties imposed on those who don’t obtain coverage.

  • Won legislation that clarifies that the health care provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs constitutes minimum essential coverage as required by the new national health care law.

  • Won passage in the House of veterans status for certain Guard/Reserve military retirees who did not serve on active duty long enough to have attained that status (failed to pass in the Senate).

  • Won improvements in the new GI Bill, including: benefits for National Guard members ordered to state active duty (Title 32); vocational, OFT and apprenticeship training, flight training, and other types of non-degree training; an upgraded subsistence allowance for disabled veterans using Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) program benefits; and coverage for multiple licensure and certification tests

We continue the fight:

  • For full concurrent receipt for all VA rated disabled retirees, including those with less than 20 years of service. • For elimination of the SBP-DIC offset

  • For full funding of the FY 2011 & Fy2012 DOD health care budgets

  • For lower Guard-Reserve retirement age

  • To stop any increases in TRICARE fees or co-pays

  • To stop any cuts in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs

  • For inclusion of the Coast Guard under the new GI Bill

However, the greatest economic downturn since the great depression, the growing federal deficit, and election results of last November have caused the President and the Congress to now look seriously at freezing or cutting federal spending. As a result, discussions about cutting the DOD and veterans budgets are growing. Since the budget of the Department of Defense is over half of all the discretionary spending of the federal government, it is a natural target for cutting back on spending.

Having TREA members supporting us at the grass-roots level is critical to our success. Never has there been a more important time for military retirees to stick together in order to protect their hard-earned benefits.

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