COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama began and ended his State of the Union address in January by heaping lavish praise upon the men and women of the military. He used words like "courage, selflessness and teamwork" to describe their ability to bravely accomplish each mission he set for them. The war in Iraq is over. Osama bin Laden is dead. Troops are coming home from Afghanistan. So now -- in a show of thanks -- the president wants to gradually triple their Tricare premiums.
Tricare, according to its website, "is the health care program serving Uniformed Service members, retirees and their families worldwide."
The administration's admitted objective to Congress, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon, is "to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare."
Under the new plan, Tricare annual premiums will increase 30 percent to 78 percent in the first year. After that the plan more than triples the premium payment in five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent.
"According to congressional assessments,” Free Beacon reported, “a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048."Additionally, just as Obamacare limits civilians with pre-tax flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts to buying a "medicine or drug only if such medicine or drug" is doctor prescribed -- or pay a 40 percent tax -- the new plan for the military increases co-payments of active duty personnel for pharmaceuticals and eliminates incentives for using less expensive, over-the-counter and generic drugs.
Despite the fact that national defense spending has drastically declined under Obama's watch -- an expense described by The Foundry's Mike Brownfield as "a core constitutional function of government" -- entitlement spending has more than tripled.
Where defense accounts for only 14 percent of national spending in fiscal year 2012, 70 percent of the budget went to pay for the housing, food, income, welfare, student aid for the 1 in 5 Americans who are dependent on some type of government assistance.According to the Nov. 1 report by the Census Bureau, there were 21.8 million veterans in the U.S. As of Dec, 31 the Department of Defense reported 1,456,862 active duty military personnel.
While military moral is at an all-time low and support for Obama among their ranks has plummeted, the president's new proposed defense budget will only force military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their health care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 14.8 million union members in the U.S. With his union support faltering and with angry union leaders pressuring Obama and congressional Democrats to step up efforts to advance their interests, it's no great mystery why they will leave the benefits of unionized civilian defense workers unscathed.
"As commander-in-chief, I want every veteran to know that America will always honor your service and your sacrifice -- not just today, but every day," the president said in November. "And just as you fought for us, we're going to keep fighting for you -- for more jobs, for more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong and America competitive in the 21st century."
Of course, he forgot to warn them he was about to kick their existing health care insurance plan so far out of reach that they'd be forced to grab the plan that 53 percent of Americans want repealed for survival.