Sounding the Retiree Alarm Bell, Again:

The Pentagon’s health care costs have been skyrocketing—essentially doubling since 2001, according to one DOD estimate. In the next four to five years, the total spending on military health care will exceed $50 billion, says William Winkenwerder Jr., the Pentagon’s top health care official. In testimony before the military personnel subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Winkenwerder singled out the rising costs of retiree benefits as the prime culprit. According to his data, if the current trend continues, by Fiscal 2009 the Pentagon will spend 75 percent of its health care budget on retirees. Winkenwerder went on to say that while the rise in health care costs is not unique to the military, but he terms the military system “increasingly out of step with the benefit design approaches and trends of the private sector.” Pardon us, but didn’t the Pentagon promise these benefits to military members