Boosting Tricare Fees Will Not Be a Cakewalk:

Veterans associations are on the attack, and some lawmakers express skepticism at the Pentagon’s plan to increase Tricare payments for military retirees under age 65. The Pentagon claims it must boost charges, which have remained static since 1995, to keep pace with the value of the benefit. Officials say in 1995 retirees paid about 27 percent of the cost, while now, because of soaring health care cost, they pay only about 12 percent. They want to rectify that by starting a sliding scale based on rank. Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), chairman of the Armed Services personnel subcommittee, questions the Pentagon’s math, saying at a hearing last week that much of the initial purported cost savings is based on a “change in behavior,” because the Pentagon thinks the higher charges will force beneficiaries to avoid using Tricare. He was willing, for the moment, to put aside the “morality” of cutting costs in that manner. The Veterans for Foreign Wars, on the other hand, calls the proposal “absolutely unacceptable.”