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                                  Welcome to the Treasure Coast Chapter
                      Serving Martin and St. Lucie Counties
   2016 Five Star Level of Excellence Award Winner! 


                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                    

Our annual 5k run has been scheduled.   

This year our event will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 8:30 AM until completion of Race in Traditions at the Intersection of SW Village Parkway and SW Discovery Way, Port St Lucie, FL 34982. (South of Tradition Medical Center and Torrey Pines).  


Click on Community Service on the left for full information. 

r event will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 8:30 
Membership
  • Monthly Meetings – usually a dinner or luncheon on the third Thursday of the Month. Our meetings include a social hour, an excellent meal, Guest Speaker and a program at a local restaurant.  No formal meetings in July and August.                                                                               
  • Membership is open to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired, and former commissioned officers and warrant officers of the following uniformed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.                                                                                 
  • Auxiliary memberships also are available for surviving spouses of deceased officers.                                                                        
  • Membership is open to spouses of either living or deceased members (as above) – as Associate Members.     

  • Here is a link I wish everyone would share  Why Join MOAA    you can copy paste the address and send it to your Friends.                  

Why Your MOAA Membership Matters

Legislative Action

Every week MOAA's Member Service Center answers hundreds of emails and phone calls. Here are answers to a few of the most common legislative related questions recently asked:

 

Q. If there are newly imposed TRICARE for Life (TFL) fees will I be affected?

 

DoD's FY17 budget proposed annual enrollment fees that would eventually reach 2 percent of retired pay for those who become Medicare-eligible on or after Jan. 1, 2017.  

 

Under its proposal, beneficiaries already enrolled in Medicare on Jan. 1, 2017 would be exempted from the new fee. Chapter 61 (military disability) retirees and survivors of servicemembers who died on active duty also would be exempt from the new fee.  

 

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) rejected the proposed TFL fees in its version of the FY17 Defense Authorization Act. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is scheduled to take up its version of the bill next week, and MOAA hopes the SASC will follow the HASC in resisting additional TFL costs.  

 

Q. Wasn't I promised free health care for life?

 

There is widespread discussion about the “free” part of that promise. MOAA believes many servicemembers were promised free health care for life by supervisors, retention officers, or NCOs based on the widespread availability of military hospitals and clinics across the country in the past.  

 

In the late 1960's, Congress changed the law to specify that retirees would be eligible for care “on a space-available basis” in military medical facilities. Still, MOAA has documented that some service retention brochures continued to tout “lifetime health care” as a career benefit long after that.  

 

Regardless of whether the word “free” was explicitly used, MOAA believes that was how most members interpreted the lifetime health care promise - because their only experience as active duty members was with free care in military facilities.

 

Crunch time really came in 1996, when TRICARE was implemented at the same time DoD downsized and eliminated hundreds of military hospitals and clinics, and specified that care would be allocated by priority for (1) currently serving members and families, (2) retirees and family members under age 65 and (3) retirees and families over 65.

 

As a practical matter, that radically changed the availability of military health care and shut virtually all of the over-65s out of the military health care system. The resulting outcry over broken commitments led Congress to enact TRICARE For Life (TFL) as a supplement to Medicare in 2001. So current law does, in fact, authorize lifetime health coverage for career servicemembers and their families and survivors.  

 

Regardless of what people believe they were promised (or, in many cases, actually were promised), it has been a long time since military people have been exempt from paying at least something for health care. Servicemembers and family members over 65 have been paying Medicare premiums since the 1960s. Even before TRICARE was implemented, care not provided in military facilities was covered by CHAMPUS, which entailed a deductible and 25 percent cost share.  

 

So the days of hoping for free health care are gone. MOAA remains committed to resisting disproportional fee increases, and ensuring whatever fees are charged take appropriate account of the in-kind premiums career servicemembers and families paid “up-front” through decades of service and sacrifice.  

MOAA will continue to oppose any TFL fees beyond the Medicare Part B premium.  

 

Q. What is going on with the commissary? Is privatization coming?

 

Last year, instead of providing a plan to privatize the commissary, Congress wrote a provision into the defense bill requiring the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to achieve budget-neutrality for the commissary and exchange benefits no later than March 1, 2016. After the report, DoD was to begin pilot programs to achieve that goal - while also maintaining current levels of patron savings and satisfaction and product quality. The report is yet to be released.  

 

MOAA and The Military Coalition supported these provisions, in full knowledge that making the program budget-neutral while still achieving the same levels of patron savings and satisfaction and product quality is functionally impossible.  

 

However, the House version of the FY17 defense bill included a provision allowing DoD to implement variable pricing strategies and “house brand” products at commissaries nationwide - while still maintaining requirements to preserve current levels of patron savings and satisfaction. If this provision is enacted, commissaries will be able to use variable pricing to modify product prices, up or down, for up to five years (or more if it works to reduce requirements for tax dollar support).  

 

Although the proposed provision still requires DoD to meet benchmarks for product quality and customer savings and satisfaction, variable pricing could change the way commissaries deliver those savings either within a market basket or by locality.  

 

MOAA will continue to urge DoD and Congress to find efficiencies without reducing the value of this important benefit.  

 

Q. What is MOAA's position on privatizing the VA?

 

MOAA believes the VA system definitely needs improvements, but we disagree with those who would phase it out and move all veterans' care to the private sector. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is a system with a unique and comprehensive mission, and is unlike any other health system in America today. Privatizing the VA would eliminate some of the best aspects of VA care, such as spinal and polytrauma care.  

 

That said, the system is in need of immediate attention and reform. Part of that reform is ensuring qualifying veterans are able to access private sector care if they can't get timely care in VA facilities.  

 

MOAA has joined with several other veterans groups to urge the Commission on Care, a congressional commission tasked with strategically examining how to best organize the VHA for the next generation of veterans, to consider serious reforms rather than a total overhaul.  

 

Q. Is concurrent receipt still a priority for MOAA?

 

Definitely. MOAA continues to support full concurrent receipt of both military retired pay and VA disability pay-regardless of the percentage of disability. This issue remains one of MOAA's key legislative priorities, and our goal of full elimination of the offset is specified in MOAA's Resolutions, under Resolution No. 6-Career Force Compensation and Retirement System.  

 

There are currently three MOAA-supported bills on this issue.  

 

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced the Retired Pay Restoration Act (S. 271). This bill would permit retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive full concurrent receipt of both retired pay and veterans' disability compensation, including Chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service. The House companion to this bill is H.R. 333, introduced by Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.).  

 

Another MOAA-supported bill regarding concurrent receipt is H.R. 303, introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.). This bill would authorize full concurrent receipt for retirees with regular or Guard/Reserve retirements, regardless of disability rating.  

 

Members are able to see up to date bill status information and send letters of support through MOAA's key bills webpage.  

 

MOAA is committed to advocating for concurrent receipt until the offset is eliminated for all disabled retirees. We believe strongly in the principle that career military members earn their retired pay by service alone, and those unfortunate enough to suffer a service-caused disability in the process should have any VA disability compensation added to, not subtracted from, their service-earned retired pay.  

 

The main challenge, as it is with so many of our legislative goals, is funding. Under congressional rules, the only way the Armed Services Committees can propose such fixes is by identifying equal spending cuts in other programs in their purview. That's why it's been so difficult winning further progress.  

 

In all likelihood, progress will come as it has in the past - in increments rather than in one big change.  

 

In that regard, MOAA's top concurrent receipt priority is providing relief for severely disabled medical retirees with less than 20 years of service. Under current law, a 100 percent (non-combat) disabled medical retiree with 19 years of service still loses most or all of his retired pay to the disability offset.  

 

We're convinced the offset will be fully eliminated for all disabled retirees at some point. But the current budget environment poses a huge obstacle for the short term.

 

3a.  NDAA 2017 Update -- CBO Cost Estimate on H.R.4909

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), CBO,  |May 11, 2016

 

H.R. 4909 would authorize appropriations totaling an estimated $603.3 billion for the military functions of the Department of Defense (DoD), for certain activities of the Department of Energy (DOE), and for other purposes. In addition, H.R. 4909 would prescribe personnel strengths for each active-duty and selected-reserve component of the U.S. armed forces.CBO estimates that appropriation of the authorized amounts would result in outlays of $587 billion over the 2017-2021 period.

 

Of the amount that would be authorized for 2017 $567.0 billion would be for base budget costs for defense programs, $0.4 billion would be for nondefense programs, and $35.7 billion would be to cover a portion (seven months) of costs directly related to war-related activities. Funds for the direct cost of war-related activities for the remaining five months of 2017—roughly $20 billion—could be provided in supplemental appropriations; the bill, however, would not authorize additional funds for that purpose.

 

If appropriated, $544.0 billion of the authorized amounts would count against the 2017 defense cap set in the Budget Control Act (BCA), as amended and $0.4 billion would count against the nondefense cap. An additional $58.8 billion would be authorized for overseas contingency operations (OCO) and if appropriated would not count against the caps. Of the amount designated for OCO, $23.1 billion would be used in support of base budget requirements while the remaining $35.7 billion would be for war-related activities. To review the CBO cost estimate refer to:

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/costestimate/hr4909hasc.pdf

 Please browse through our other items as we are adding more information daily.


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MOAA and the Treasure Coast Chapter of MOAA
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