Letter to the Editor

How do you put a price on the military’s Tricare benefits?

Regarding the Dec. 3 editorial “Time to rein in Tricare”:

Personnel expenditures are directly associated with defense readiness, and reneging on past commitments by imposing drastic health-care fee hikes on military retirees will negatively impact recruiting and retention. Threats to also cut retirement benefits and other quality-of-life programs are major concerns within the active and reserve military communities and are viewed as devaluing military service.

The debt crisis is serious, but total defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is significantly below past wartime periods and is projected to go lower. And despite claims of rising health-care costs, in recent years the Defense Department has asked to shift unspent Defense Health Program funds to other areas.

Military retirees who are younger than 65 and are enrolled in Tricare Prime experienced a 13 percent increase in their enrollment fees last year, and these fees will increase annually based on inflation. Pharmacy co-pays will also increase in 2013.

Military service is unlike any other occupation. Roughly 1 percent of the population has volunteered to shoulder 100 percent of the responsibility for our national security. The benefits associated with this service have been earned through 20 or more years of arduous military service.

Joseph L. Barnes, Alexandria

The writer is national executive director of the Fleet Reserve Association.

During most of my post-Air Force working years, Tricare Standard, for which I pay nothing, was the secondary payer to employer-provided insurance. In recent years, my employer has moved to high-deductible plans, making Tricare Standard my primary provider. Although I appreciate the benefit, I believe that military retirees need to be part of the solution.

Harvey R. Greenberg, Dundee, N.Y.

When reading The Post’s recommendation to reduce veterans benefits again, I was reminded of this concluding refrain from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Tommy”:

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”

But it’s “Saviour of ’ is country” when the guns begin to shoot;

An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;

An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

John Marcello, Lansdowne

The writer is a retired Army major general.

 
Read what others are saying