MOAA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2022
Here is what we are
focused on for 2022 (click each link for more on the topic):
Sustain pay raises and
adequate BAH for the troops and COLA raises for retirees.
Ensure the Coast Guard,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service
continue to receive pay during a government shutdown.
Protect the value of the
military health care benefit.
Protect the Military
Health System pharmacy benefit, and achieve flexibility in TRICARE pharmacy
Address barriers to
accessing care within the MHS, including TRICARE coverage gaps and mental
health care access challenges.
Protect family support
programs, and ensure military-provided services (housing, PCS, child care,
youth programs, financial counseling) are readily available and meet standards
for quality and costs.
Achieve equity of
benefits, protections, and administrative support for Guard/Reserve members
consistent with their active-duty counterparts.
Sustain Veterans Health
Administration (VHA) foundational missions and services.
Reform the presumptive
process to support veterans claiming service-connected disabilities for toxic
receipt of service-earned retirement pay and VA disability pay.
Protect full military
honors and burial at Arlington National Cemetery for those currently eligible.
Support a quality
transition experience from active duty to veteran status for all
Recognize the pandemic
continues to affect the lives of our servicemembers.
Sustain Pay Raises and Adequate
BAH for the Troops and COLA Raises for Retirees
OVERVIEW: Pay raises and adequate housing allowances for
the troops remain a high priority for MOAA and for those currently serving.
MOAA engaged DoD early when BAH rates did not keep up with emerging housing
demands in many sectors across our nation. We need DoD to be more responsive to
these changes that significantly impact servicemembers and their families
during a move.
MOAA also keeps COLA
raises for retirees in mind, as they represent a commitment on behalf of our
government to recognize their service and sacrifice. Budget challenges often
generate interest in reducing such outlays from these programs to help fund
weapons acquisition and other programs. There is no doubt such challenges will
appear in the coming years.
[RELATED: MOAA’s COLA
Ensure pay raises
based on the Employment Cost Index (ECI) are included in the annual National
Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). For January 2023, the ECI pay raise as noted
in October 2021 is 4.6%.
Ensure DoD, and
Congress if necessary, maintains authorities for temporary increases in BAH to
account for wide fluctuations in availability and costs; and when warranted, be
more prompt in executing those authorities.
Advocate for making up
the 2.6% pay raise gap (due to reductions in pay from 2014 to 2016).
Protect COLA for
retired pay, Social Security, and VA benefits.
Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation for indications of DoD cost saving
measures at the expense of servicemembers and retirees.
Continue to monitor
COLA and pay raises each October and proposals in the pending QRMC.
Ensure the Coast Guard,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service
Continue to Receive Pay During a Government Shutdown
OVERVIEW: In the face of a shutdown, the Office of Management and Budget
identifies the key and essential agencies and their services that must be
maintained through the shutdown. Decisions are rarely all-inclusive, leaving
out portions or whole agencies or departments.
excluded the military but not the USCG, NOAA, or USPHS. Legislation such as
the USCG Act would
provide for pay and allowances for members of the Coast Guard during a funding
gap, and provide full funding for operations. More work will be needed to
introduce similar legislation for NOAA and USPHS.
Engage with the
Department of Commerce for NOAA, and the Department of Health and Human Services
for USPHS, to determine the best way forward for protections.
comprehensive legislation covering all uniformed services given their
interoperable relationships, and their relevance during a pandemic, natural
disaster, or other national crises.
Continue to support
and renew The Military Coalition (TMC) letter for the 117th Congress.
Advocate for lawmakers
to co-sponsor the USCG Act (S. 1845) while other efforts are underway.
Advocate funding the
government on time to avoid costly continuing resolutions or the potential for
a government shutdown.
[RELATED: Budget Delay
Could Cause Major Problems for Veterans Medical Care]
Protect the Value of the
Military Health Care Benefit
OVERVIEW: Budget pressures, together with shortfalls in both the readiness
and benefit provision missions of the Military Health system (MHS), led
Congress to pass MHS reform legislation in the FY 2017 NDAA. It is not MOAA’s
objective to reverse MHS reform laws aimed at addressing medical readiness
issues, but MOAA does oppose implementation plans aimed primarily at
Block any proposal for
disproportionate TRICARE fee increases, including any initiation of TRICARE for
Life enrollment fees, increases to TRICARE Prime costs for active duty family
members, or increases to working-age retiree costs that exceed retiree COLA.
Secure reduction in
mental health and physical, speech, and occupational therapy copays to bring
them in line with high quality commercial plans and to eliminate cost as a
barrier to access.
Continue efforts to
increase transparency, DoD reporting requirements, and congressional oversight
of restructuring of military treatment facilities (MTFs) and medical billet
cuts, and ensure lessons learned from the pandemic inform decisions on medical
Oppose cuts to
military medical research and the Uniformed Services University of the Health
Sciences, which is essential to the uniformed provider pipeline and increases
the number of culturally competent providers for military beneficiaries.
[RELATED: TRICARE Costs
Announced: What You Need to Know for 2022]
Protect the MHS Pharmacy
Benefit, and Achieve Flexibility in TRICARE Pharmacy Copays
OVERVIEW: MHS reform legislation has eroded the value of
the pharmacy benefit and poses a threat to MTF pharmacy access and zero-copay
prescription medications. Inflexible TRICARE pharmacy cost-sharing, governed by
statute, requires beneficiaries to pay full copays even when the TRICARE
Pharmacy Home Delivery program is unavailable, or the full prescription
quantity cannot be filled.
[RELATED: Here Are Your
New TRICARE Pharmacy Drug Prices]
Oppose any plans to
restrict access to military treatment facility pharmacies.
Require DoD report on
frequency of TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery out-of-stocks and feasibility of
offering lower mail-order copays at retail pharmacies for drugs unavailable due
to Home Delivery program shortages.
allowing DoD to charge pro-rated pharmacy copays for partial prescription
Halt planned pharmacy
copay increases passed into law with the FY 2018 NDAA.
Address Barriers to Accessing
Care Within the MHS, Including TRICARE Coverage Gaps and Mental Health Care
OVERVIEW: TRICARE coverage policy is governed by statute
and often requires legislation to remain aligned with new technologies and
treatment protocols and benchmarks set by high quality commercial plans and
other government payers. Access problems with mental health care, validated by an August 2020 DoD
Inspector General’s report, are particularly pronounced and
must be addressed.
Support pilot program
to test MHS mental health appointment schedulers to assist beneficiaries with
access to care and allow the Defense Health Agency to more effectively track
appointment availability versus access standards.
eligibility to dependents up to age 26 with no additional premium to bring
TRICARE on par with commercial health plans.
Continue to advocate
for TRICARE coverage of chiropractic care.
[RELATED: MOAA’s 2021-22
Protect Family Support
Programs, and Ensure Military-Provided Services (Housing, PCS, Child Care,
Youth Programs, Financial Counseling) Are Readily Available and Meet Standards
for Quality and Costs
OVERVIEW: Programs and services for military and veteran
families are often the first to see cuts when government funding becomes tight.
Routinely, such decrements hit staffing, which diminishes quality and
availability of programs. These benefits are essential to ensure servicemembers
are squared away and can focus on the mission.
We already know
military spouses play a vital role in servicemembers’ decisions to stay in the
military. When DoD prioritizes people first by committing to these support
programs, they are more likely to retain the necessary experience supportive of
an all-volunteer force.
[RELATED: More Spouse and
Family News From MOAA]
approaches and incentives to increase access to quality child care providers.
Address the military
spouse unemployment rate through resources, program expansions, and private
Continue to work with
the Defense State Liaison Office to increase licensure portability for military
spouses through interstate compacts.
Advocate for further
incentives for Family Child Care (FCC) in-home providers, to include similar
support servicewide and for all ranks.
Push for full
implementation of comprehensive housing reform and accountability.
and responsiveness of contract movers and claims during PCS moves.
Assess impact of
COVID-19 on programs and progress.
Achieve Equity of Benefits,
Protections, and Administrative Support for Guard/Reserve Members Consistent
With Their Active-Duty Counterparts
OVERVIEW: Guard and Reserve troops can be activated with little notice to
meet unknown challenges. The pandemic response highlights why we need to ensure
servicemembers are always ready. Along with this, the transition to the “total
force” concept has transformed the National Guard and Reserve troops into an
operational force that is an essential part of America’s national defense
Their readiness is
essential, but despite conducting the same duties as their active duty
counterparts at increasing frequencies, the reserve component is not receiving
the same support.
Pay, benefits, and
retirement credit inequities abound and must be eliminated to honor the vital
role of our Guard/Reserve servicemembers.
equals operational readiness; expanding Military Lending Act protections to the
Guard/Reserve forces will support their activation with reduced stress as they
meet financial obligations.
agreements for the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
(USERRA) and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) must be eliminated to
protect servicemembers’ rights.
Guard/Reserve retirement pay processing delays.
Support timely health
care benefits for retirees, to include access to health care for those who
earned early retirement based on cumulative deployment time.
Assess the pandemic’s
impact on short-notice deployments relative to employers and concerns noted
[RELATED: MOAA, Other
Groups Seek Ban on Forced Arbitration in Servicemember Contracts]
Sustain Veterans Health
Administration (VHA) Foundational Missions and Services
OVERVIEW: The VA MISSION Act, signed into law in 2018,
is intended to fundamentally modernize how the VA delivers care — a system
virtually untouched by major transformation in more than 25 years.
The VA faces several
challenges as it attempts to sustain and balance its four primary health care
missions (clinical, research, education and training, and emergency management
response) while also meeting the expectations of veterans seeking access to
high quality health care when and where they need it.
workforce to eliminate widespread staffing shortages and strengthen recruiting,
retention, and professional development programs for long-term system
disparities for women and minority veterans and other underserved communities
to ensure health equity in accessing timely, sensitive, and quality care and
Expand access to
caregiving, palliative, geriatric, and extended care programs and services for
veterans and wounded warriors.
Reform the Presumptive Process
to Support Veterans Claiming Service-Connected Disabilities for Toxic Exposures
OVERVIEW: Before we go to war, we pursue cutting-edge
weapons; develop effective tactics, techniques, and procedures; and train our
forces to defeat our enemies. After the fog of war lifts, the consequences on
our servicemembers become apparent, albeit sometimes decades later.
When Agent Orange,
burn pits, and other hazardous materials cause illnesses, the current practice
is to place the burden of proof and record-keeping on our veterans. Many are
unable to prove their exposure, and while they or others conduct the research,
the ill veteran suffers without health care or benefits. If the veteran dies
during this process, their surviving spouse will not receive Dependency and
Indemnity Compensation. The entirety of this problem is exacerbated by the time
it takes to conclude.
[RELATED: Pilot Program
Will Change How VA Links Illnesses to Toxic Exposure]
Pursue enactment of
legislation that concedes veterans serving in the Middle East and Southeast
Asia were exposed to hazardous substances.
and tracking around toxic substance use and exposure.
Establish an advisory
committee to recommend research on emerging conditions.
Assess the impact of
the pandemic on the health of servicemembers deployed to assist the
Achieve Concurrent Receipt of
Service-Earned Retirement pay and VA Disability Pay
OVERVIEW: Currently, those with a 40% VA-rated
disability and those forced to medically retire under Chapter 61 have their
retirement pay offset for every dollar of VA disability received. The
Congressional Budget Office estimates fixing concurrent receipt will cost $33 billion
over 10 years. An incremental strategy to break up concurrent receipt into
smaller cost brackets can enhance progress.
Receipt Resources and Advocacy Updates]
Continue to support
concurrent receipt legislation and the incremental approach to aid in the
efforts toward an eventual and total solution.
Develop solutions with
professional staff members and the House and Senate for feasible language in
Include the Major Richard Star Act in
the FY 2023 NDAA to support 48,000 combat-injured servicemembers (many
seriously disabled) with concurrent receipt of their medical retirement pay and
Protect Full Military Honors
and Burial at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) for Those Currently Eligible
OVERVIEW: DoD draft eligibility changes for interment
and inurnment at ANC are pending through the federal rule-making process.
Unfortunately, if the eligibility changes are approved, many who had planned
for an in-ground burial at ANC will be denied and their family will have to
DoD and the VA need to
identify our next national cemetery that affords full military honors; this
effort could be the impetus for grandfathering all those currently eligible for
Arlington National Cemetery.
Advocate for a halt to
the current proposal for changes at ANC with DoD and lawmakers.
Engage MOAA members
and TMC to continue sharing their concerns over these changes.
Secure new language in
the NDAA that will direct expansion of our national cemetery, protect full
military honors for 20-year retirees, and prevent reduction of current eligibility.
Simplify and improve
the planning data by establishing a reservation system.
Improve Survivors’ Benefits
OVERVIEW: After the repeal of the “widows
tax” in 2019, with full effect in January 2023, there remain
injustices to survivors on several other issues.
Advocate for passage
of H.R. 2214, the Military Survivor Comfort
improvement to keep up with inflation, either via standalone legislation like
the Supporting Families of
the Fallen Act (H.R. 3793) or larger legislative vehicles like
the annual NDAA.
Build co-sponsors for
The Caring for the Survivors and Families of Veterans Act of 2021.
Continue to support
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation improvement to bring it on par with
[RELATED: MOAA’s Surviving
Support a Quality Transition
Experience From Active Duty to Veteran Status for All Servicemembers
OVERVIEW: As servicemembers transition to becoming
veterans, they deserve a quality transition to civilian life and the resources
to help them access VA services.
Support a claims
process that helps veterans build a relationship with the VA to improve the
pathway to care and the benefits they need.
Clarify claims rules
and prohibit predatory behaviors that overcharge veterans to get their earned
Lobby Congress to
provide the VA with the resources needed to effectively reduce the claims
Recognize the Pandemic
Continues to Affect the Lives of Our Servicemembers
OVERVIEW: In the wake of the pandemic, it is important to improve the
resilience of installation and institutional support to those who serve in our
eight uniformed services, past and present, and their families and survivors.
Challenges range from PCS to retirement processing, deployments to day care,
training or executing a mission, at home or abroad, across active and reserve
It is likely we will
not know the extent of the impact the pandemic has had broadly, or continues to
have, on DoD, the VA, and other agencies until we are well on the other side of
administration and congressional influence already observed through stimulus
legislation and other efforts continuing well into the second session of the
pandemic’s impacts on our uniformed services and their families, and ensure any
gaps in support are identified to congressional leaders and their staffs.
Capitalize on lessons
learned from the pandemic to educate all about the importance of having a
ready-now capability to respond to varying emergencies; and that such strategic
capacity should not be confused with excess, nor should it serve as a target
for short-sighted savings.