Some New Options?:

In addition to pursuing an increase (see above) in Tricare fees—primarily directed at the under age 65 group of military retirees—the Pentagon wants more flexibility in managing the military healthcare system. David Chu, undersecretary for personnel and readiness, told Future of Military Healthcare task force members Tuesday that the system “could be efficient with a much smaller network.” He went on to say, “The current business practices do not lead to a sustainable package over the long term.” He suggested, “Quality will suffer if we do not act.” We presume this is an opening gambit in response to lawmakers who demanded the Pentagon first look for system efficiencies before asking for fee hikes. The Pentagon apparently is considering several proposals, including developing a means to provide incentives to encourage beneficiaries to partner with the military health system to make choices that improve their health and conserve resources, such as making “appropriate” pharmaceutical choices. The Pentagon also wants greater freedom to obtain the lowest drug prices available.