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MILITARY: Broken health care promises to retirees

Letter by Norman Campbell, DuPont on Sep. 17, 2010 at 10:53 am with 13 Comments »
September 17, 2010 11:08 am

”Listen up! Attention! Stay in for 20 or more years and you will earn free medical and dental care for the rest of your lives – delayed compensation for your substandard pay!”

From the 1940s to the mid-1990s, thousands of career military heard those words from those they took an oath to obey. A court case determined that Congress never authorized the promise, a dubious technicality given that Congress knew the promise was being made and did nothing to stop it. In the real world, this is commonly called fraud.

The government saved untold billions in recruiting, training costs and substandard payment for personnel. These savings could have been used to honor the promise. But “free” medical and dental care for military retirees and their dependents now cost them co-pays, enrollment fees, part B Medicare fees and supplemental insurance premiums.

Congress is moving to reduce entitlements. That promised free health care is “eating the defense budget alive,” according to the Pentagon. An increase in user costs appears a certainty.

The Pentagon budget need not be involved if Congress had the backbone to force the executive branch to abide by the original ruling of Congress that health care for retirees over 65 be funded by the Treasury. It took some slick trickery to force these costs on the defense budget, thus creating the justification for increasing user costs.

So much for government promises and government honor.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. Norman, When I retired in ’77, I was also under the false impression that I would get “free” health and dental care. Call it naive or just plain ignorance. It wasn’t until I walked into a dental facility to get my “free” dental work that I was told there is no such thing. Welcome to the real world.

  2. BlaineCGarver says:

    I retired in ’92. There is NO dental care, as promised. My medical care through VA is pretty good, but not exactly free. Meds are running me about one hundred a month.
    You all DID notice that Social Security and The Military received NO cost of living increase this year, all the while congress voted themselves a multi-thousand dollar a year raise…. Bite Me, Congress!!!

  3. Sumner401 says:

    Boy even that hard core righties are faced with admitting that their beloved party is screwing them.

  4. iamjimbo says:

    Kooky, and THIS is the healthcare Cheryl advocates for the rest of the country…

  5. BlaineCGarver says:

    Sumner, everyone in the country is getting screwed. THIS right wing-nut would ax medical insurance and set up a non-profit CoOp funded by a VAT of whatever percentage is necessary. I’m disgusted that people make a big billion dollar business on the back of the sick and dying.

  6. comment_tayter says:

    LOL… I was in the AF in the early ’70’s at the end of the Viet Nam war. So many enlisted guys would say: “That recruiter…he lied to me!”. And the ‘lifers’ would just laugh, so smug and self-satisfied. And then, whe it was re-enlistment time, those same lifers would give those same recruits, now airmen first class, the same BS and lies about free health care for life.

    I’m laughing my #ss off, because, I knew those guys were lying then, just the way the politicians and other agents of the government are lying now, regardless of party.

    If you want a good perspective upon the Federal Government’s ability to tell the truth and keep promises, may I suggest you go and have a sincere talk with a Native American.

    LOL… Oh, gosh…I am laughing so hard…. But, hey look at it this way, boys: at least you’ve got _some_ healthcare. Lots of us have none at all.

  7. the3rdpigshouse says:

    We surely want to reduce earned benefits for citizens who have earned them so that we can continue to financially destroy a once great nation with the ever increasing social welfare burden of societies non-contributing maggots! That is the “OH-Bummer” agenda!

  8. I retired in 1982 and they opened up free space available dental care at Ft. Lewis a few years after that. Fillings and pull teeth all for free. I even knew of a person that got all their teeth pulled for free. When they asked when they would get their dentures they told them they pull teeth only. They didn’t do dentures unless you had them when you retired! The free care only lasted a couple years until they started building up Ft. Lewis again…

    The VA and their pill policy really gets me. Civilian contract doctor for the VA gives me a written prescription so I can go across the freeway and get a couple prescriptions for free at the military base. Next time in to see the doc he is talking to me in the waiting room and some pencil pusher from a back room flys out on her broom and starts chewing out the doc about giving me the written prescription. Seems they had pulled all the regular prescription pads and the doc had found one stuck away in the back of a drawer. Something about all prescriptions will go through the VA computer!

  9. comment, tayter, I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m not complaining. I don’t mind paying $450 a year for insurance. I also don’t mind getting that retirement check every month. Laugh all you want. I saw lot’s of guys just like you calling careerists “lifers”, they are not laughing so hard now are they?

  10. Enjoy that $450 a year for insurance now because it will jump to over $2000+ a year for you and your wife when you collect social security and start paying for Part B. Part B is required for Tricare For Life…

  11. LuckyCharm says:

    “Kooky, and THIS is the healthcare Cheryl advocates for the rest of the country… “

    No jimm, I don’t advocate the socialist VA or military healthcare systems for the rest of the country. I wanted the public option, which would have been like a Medicare buy-in for anybody who wanted it. Very big difference there.

    And I was never under the impression that military retirees got free medical and dental care for the rest of their lives. Sounds like the letter writer got hoodwinked by an unscrupulous recruiter — shoulda read the fine print, dearie….

  12. Seems the Col. and a lot of others didn’t read the fine print.

    U.S. Air Force Colonel George Everette “Bud” Day
    “…in 1996 Day filed a class action lawsuit for breach of contract against the United States government on behalf of military retirees who were stripped of their military medical care benefits at age 65 and told to apply for Medicare…”

    Military Health Care:
    The Issue of “Promised” Benefits

  13. dearie L.C. you should have read the small print that said you would be eligible to be shipped off to locations that you may not agree with. Now let’s stop the whining and the PTSD charade and join the rest of the vets who have served in combat and never took the life-long meal ticket for V.A. disability for PTSD.

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