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Old 06-03-2011, 12:43 PM   #21
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Yes the healthcare benefit was inflation adjusted.
The promise was:

FREE HEALTHCARE FOR LIFE.

Inflate it anyway you want, it should still be FREE!

Now, I will admit that some service members did not get that promise. It depends on how long ago you served. The government realized some years ago that they could not keep that promise, changed to TRICARE and started charging the service member for his retirement healthcare and his families healthcare while he was on active duty. It did not matter if he was already retired or not. Or if he had served the majority of his time under the 'promise'.

Along with TRICARE, the government then forced the retiree off TRICARE and onto MEDICARE when they turn 65. So their healthcare then went from $550 a year to almost $3,000 a year for two. A 445% increase. This is not a complaint, just a broken promise. By the way, there have been proposal to charge the retiree a TRICARE for Life premium also. So the beat goes on!

Politician love the military! They love to stand by them at parades in their home town. They love to tell people how much they support them. In reality the military are easy pickins behind close doors. Virtually no politician has enough military in their district tp change their vote. It does happen sometimes, but it is rare.

In truth, why should this surprise anyone? Look at the promises to the American Indian from the Government, and how well those have been kept over the years.
I agree with your sentiments and hope you also support auto workers and teachers in defending their contractually agreed upon benefits.

The issue is that healthcare has to be paid for either by the consumer or greater efficiencies.....that may mean fewer MRIs etc, or by reducing the profits of interested parties like doctors and insurance companies.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:02 PM   #22
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Yeah, I heard him on NPR yesterday. When he mentioned Tricare I initially thought lets not screw the military on pay. But then when he mentioned what they were proposing (annual costs from $400 to $550 or some such I almost laughed out loud.
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Yes the healthcare benefit was inflation adjusted.
The promise was:

FREE HEALTHCARE FOR LIFE.

Inflate it anyway you want, it should still be FREE!
Now, to demonstrate that I too am on both sides of the issue, despite laughing at the amount which seems so trivial, I have to agree that what is promised is promised. So, to the extent that members see the potential for backsliding here it is well worth objecting. But, as others have stated, teachers and other government workers also worked under explicit promises that many seem ready to renege on. We owe the military a large debt of gratitude - but what about, police, firefighters, and yes, teachers? All together now - honor our promises.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:16 PM   #23
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I absolutely support Auto workers in defending contractually agreed upon benefits. I also support the employers right to change those benefits for new hires, and to change it for existing employees, if and when, those agreements expire or require renewal. I am not a fan of a company going bankrupt to get rid of those promises, and then being allowed to reorganize. Go bankrupt, sell off the assets and pay your debts, of which one is the future liability of those agreements. If in this process the workers want to make a deal with the company, then that's ok. I don't remember being given that option when the Government broke their promise.

This should not surprise anyone. The government has a long history of using the military and then disregarding their promises. Let's see, does Bonus Army encampment in Washington come to mind after WWI?
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:22 PM   #24
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I absolutely support Auto workers in defending contractually agreed upon benefits. I also support the employers right to change those benefits for new hires, and to change it for existing employees, if and when, those agreements expire or require renewal. I am not a fan of a company going bankrupt to get rid of those promises, and then being allowed to reorganize. Go bankrupt, sell off the assets and pay your debts, of which one is the future liability of those agreements. If in this process the workers want to make a deal with the company, then that's ok. I don't remember being given that option when the Government broke their promise.

This should not surprise anyone. The government has a long history of using the military and then disregarding their promises. Let's see, does Bonus Army encampment in Washington come to mind after WWI?
Rustic23, Touché!! Very few people know about the Bonus Army during the Depression. The Gov absolutely reneged on the promise to these veterans. Lets hope history does not repeat itself.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:22 PM   #25
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Now, to demonstrate that I too am on both sides of the issue, despite laughing at the amount which seems so trivial, I have to agree that what is promised is promised. So, to the extent that members see the potential for backsliding here it is well worth objecting. But, as others have stated, teachers and other government workers also worked under explicit promises that many seem ready to renege on. We owe the military a large debt of gratitude - but what about, police, firefighters, and yes, teachers? All together now - honor our promises.
I agree with you! But what if we simply can't afford to fund these benefits at the level they were promised. Of course what we decide to fund and how we raise funds to pay for it are always choices.....would politicians and the US public support tax increases to fund the promises we made to the military?
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:34 PM   #26
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would politicians and the US public support tax increases to fund the promises we made to the military?
We hired the politicians to represent our collective interests. One of our collective interests was a strong military that we could use to project our ideals and protect our freedoms. Out of that came up with an incentive package to attract the needed talent at the needed levels to fulfill that goal. This included bringing in people that might have otherwise chosen alternate career paths.

If that's no longer one of our collective interests then we need to get that message to our politicians so they can react accordingly going forward. However, that shouldn't cause us to suddenly decide it's ok to change the rules midway through the game.

Of course, all this assumes that one buys into the idea that we're actually being represented by congress and that they listen to their constituents

The bigger issue may be that we should have been raising taxes and/or cutting spending all along but kept putting it off(and/or not spending in the first place... eg, two wars and a NATO action going on right now, others in the past). We may be at a point now where there's no way to push it off to another generation and no way to make adjustments painlessly.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:34 PM   #27
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Little article in the paper today. Over 3,000 federal employees in the State of Texas make more than the Governor of Texas. The governor makes $150,000 a year. We have the money, it is just where the politicians decide to spend it.

Side note, maybe the governor should apply for a life guard job in CA.
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:36 PM   #28
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Side note, maybe the governor should apply for a life guard job in CA.
I think he's considering another position with a furnished house...
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:37 PM   #29
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Now, to demonstrate that I too am on both sides of the issue, despite laughing at the amount which seems so trivial, I have to agree that what is promised is promised. So, to the extent that members see the potential for backsliding here it is well worth objecting. But, as others have stated, teachers and other government workers also worked under explicit promises that many seem ready to renege on. We owe the military a large debt of gratitude - but what about, police, firefighters, and yes, teachers? All together now - honor our promises.

I think it is rather reprehensible that ANY promise made by either a company or the government, is later reneged on which affects retirees. However, a huge difference between autoworkers, teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc and military veterans is that none of the former had to leave family and friends for months and years at a time with the possiblity of combat. Police and Firefighters at times put themselves in harms way, but teachers and autoworkers don't. And another main difference is that the "Federal" government made the promise, not a company, State, City or County.

If the "Federal" Government CANNOT or WILL NOT honor the promises made, we are in big trouble.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:38 PM   #30
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+1 I'm a 22 year Navy vet. When I signed on long, long ago, part of the deal was a good pension and health benefits at the end of service. Also part of the deal was long deployments away from home doing dangerous things (landing on a carrier in rough seas at night can be rather stressful). Although I was never in combat (which I am very thankful for) I did (as other military vets) my duty.
Good thing you stayed in as commercial pilots have had a 40% decrease in pay plus frozen pension in the past 7 years vs military pay increase of 8.6%.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:47 PM   #31
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Good thing you stayed in as commercial pilots have had a 40% decrease in pay plus frozen pension in the past 7 years vs military pay increase of 8.6%.
I hear you check6. I was starting to hear some ominous things about commercial air already in '87 from pards who had departed for "greener pastures"
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:53 PM   #32
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Wahoo,
Even that one pays only slightly more than those life guards, but it does come with some nice perks.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:56 PM   #33
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I agree with your sentiments and hope you also support auto workers and teachers in defending their contractually agreed upon benefits.
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But, as others have stated, teachers and other government workers also worked under explicit promises that many seem ready to renege on.
You are going to have to fill me in here. What teachers are having to defend 'contractually agreed upon benefits'?

Here in IL, they changed the rules for new hires. They are looking to (or have?) changed the formulas used for future benefits earned (and/or contributions to those benefits) for existing workers. Nothing changes for what was put in or earned for the past.

So I'm unaware of any changes to contractually agreed upon benefits. I'm sure that would go to court. But if a company agrees to hire you at a $xx,000 annual salary, they are free to (as are you) to renegotiate that salary for next year. Neither is reneging on contractually agreed upon benefits. And either party is free to decline and move on.

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Old 06-03-2011, 03:44 PM   #34
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I think it is rather reprehensible that ANY promise made by either a company or the government, is later reneged on which affects retirees. However, a huge difference between autoworkers, teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc and military veterans is that none of the former had to leave family and friends for months and years at a time with the possiblity of combat. Police and Firefighters at times put themselves in harms way, but teachers and autoworkers don't. And another main difference is that the "Federal" government made the promise, not a company, State, City or County.

If the "Federal" Government CANNOT or WILL NOT honor the promises made, we are in big trouble.
Being a retired educator, I can certainly vouch for all educators in my state we get NO retired health benefits whatsoever. That being said, I certainly support the retired military benefits being continued. Though I know not all, but a lot of veterans have ongoing health issues and disabilities that were directly caused by their service. The government should stand behind these people, and keep their promise, IMHO
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:24 PM   #35
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I don't see a good argument why the military should be treated any differently from other state and federal workers.....I do see a good argument why ALL contracts should be honored though.
You mean: for the most part underpaid, overworked, and generally underappreciated until it's an emergency?

Nobody is making anyone sign up for these jobs. The only proven retention technique that the military has developed over the last five decades is: money. More and more of it. These days it's usually an "allowance" or a "bonus" or a billet-related incentive, so none of it raises the veteran's retired pay.

In the late 1990s I talked with a guy who started his submarine service in 1974. When we compared the submarine service's bonus contracts over the years and adjusted for the CPI, they weren't even keeping up with inflation.

You veterans can harrumph all you want about service and promises and commitments. Unless you have the ability to pull off a Bud Day and get the Supreme Court involved again, you're not working toward a realistic solution. You're certainly not going to achieve grass-roots support from taxpayers like DonHeff and nun. However the latest Tricare proposal is the first one in 15 years to have a chance of becoming law, and it's barely enough to persuade the lower-end docs to keep accepting Tricare reimbursements. (Heaven forbid we should find an orthopedic surgeon in Hawaii who thinks it's a good deal.) In exchange, the DoD commitment to us veterans is that they won't jack up our premiums by more than whatever we're calling the rate of inflation that year.

It's not the sweet deal that some of you think you've been promised (I don't see it anywhere on my contract) but it's better than the status quo.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:21 AM   #36
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I think it is rather reprehensible that ANY promise made by either a company or the government, is later reneged on which affects retirees. However, a huge difference between autoworkers, teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc and military veterans is that none of the former had to leave family and friends for months and years at a time with the possiblity of combat. Police and Firefighters at times put themselves in harms way, but teachers and autoworkers don't. And another main difference is that the "Federal" government made the promise, not a company, State, City or County.

If the "Federal" Government CANNOT or WILL NOT honor the promises made, we are in big trouble.
When people join the military they should know the risks. If you aren't comfortable with being posted abroad or combat do something else. It should not be an excuse for preferential treatment.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:56 AM   #37
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So, keeping premisses, contracts ans such is preferential treatment? I don't think you meant that. When I joined I knew the risk, and assumed the reward would be there also. Now while I never got spat on for that decisions, several of my fellow soldiers did, and when the government broke those premisses, we all did! I have a son in the military. The government has made promises to those who currently serve. These people have little choice but to except it.

By the way, another way the service is different is a service man can not quit! You can walk out today, I believe, but I am not sure, even police and firemen can walk off the job anytime they wish. In the case of a pilot he must stay 7 to 10 years after pilot training. Every time he goes to another training he picks up a 'commitment'. So imagine yourself committed for 10 or 11 years to a system that your boss can change your benefits at anytime and you can't quit! Enlisted personal sign a contract for a set period of time, and I don't believe it even talks about benefits.

Nords statement aside, no military member ever see or signs a contract talking about his benefits! There are policies and laws governing military benefits and we all know Congress can change them at will. Changing them for active duty is not right anymore than changing Medicare or SS is for those that or either near or are collecting these benefits. The same applies, IMHO, to doctors, lawyers, auto workers, police, firemen, or Indian chiefs! Only congress is exempt and it is because they vote on their own benefits.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:43 AM   #38
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TRICARE is getting a lot of attention up on the Hill. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released two reports to congressional committees about TRICARE.

Access to Civilian Providers under TRICARE Standard and Extra

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11500.pdf

DOD Lacks Assurance That Selected Reserve Members are Informed About TRICARE Reserve Select

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11551.pdf

Plus, here's an interesting GAO document addressing questions raised by Senator Lindsey Graham:

DOD Health Care: Prohibition on Financial Incentives That May Influence Health Insurance Choices for Retirees and Their Dependents under Age 65

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11160r.pdf
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Old 06-04-2011, 02:46 PM   #39
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TRICARE is getting a lot of attention up on the Hill. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released two reports to congressional committees about TRICARE.
I think Tricare will be the proxy battleground for fixing Medicare/Medicaid...
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:19 PM   #40
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+1 I'm a 22 year Navy vet. When I signed on long, long ago, part of the deal was a good pension and health benefits at the end of service. Also part of the deal was long deployments away from home doing dangerous things (landing on a carrier in rough seas at night can be rather stressful). Although I was never in combat (which I am very thankful for) I did (as other military vets) my duty. Now the government needs to fulfill their commitment. If they want to change the deal, then it should be on the new folks coming in, not on the older veterans.
I agree with this argument. It was the deal coming in. The government and insurance companies would have us believe that insurance is a form of currency, which it is not.
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