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COVID-19 changed the landscape for many of our priorities.
Overview: Assess programs relative to our priorities
and ensure a credible accounting of the impact COVID-19 has on the
servicemember, families, survivors, and the government entities on which we
rely to effect legislation attending to these people and their concerns.
Assess congressional influence already executed (stimulus),
actions under consideration, and the need for influence not yet being
discussed. Some of our concerns can be addressed through such spontaneous
Ensure awareness of COVID-19 impact on all issues, ranging from
authorizations to appropriations and the mounting deficit.
Do not treat COVID-19 as a catch-all to explain difficult times,
nor use COVID-19 to justify our priorities; rather, COVID-19 remains a
discussion point and its impact may be significant, scalable, marginalized, or
Objective: Protect the value
of the military health care benefit.
Overview: Budget pressures, together with shortfalls in
both the MHS’ readiness and benefit provision missions, led Congress to pass
MHS reform legislation in the FY17 NDAA. MOAA will not fight to reverse MHS reform laws aimed at addressing
medical readiness issues, but we will not stand by if MHS reforms are turned into cost-cutting
Oppose any proposal for TFL 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 eliminate cost as a barrier to accessing mental health care
and other important therapies and bring them in line with high quality
Continue efforts to increase transparency, DoD reporting requirements,
and Congressional oversight of MTF restructuring and medical billet 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.
Objective: Protect the MHS
pharmacy benefit and achieve flexibility in TRICARE pharmacy copays.
reform legislation has eroded the value of the pharmacy benefit and poses a
threat to MTF pharmacy access and zero copay prescription medications.
Inflexibility in TRICARE pharmacy copays, governed by statute, require
beneficiaries to pay full copays even when TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery
program is unavailable or the full prescription quantity cannot be filled.
Oppose any plans to restrict access to MTF pharmacies.
Secure an appeals process for Tier 4/non-covered drugs to protect
military families from financial risk.
Require DoD report on frequency of TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery
out-of-stocks and feasibility of offering lower mail order copays at retail for
drugs unavailable due to Home Delivery program shortages.
Secure legislation allowing DoD to charge pro-rated pharmacy copays for
partial prescription quantity fills.
Objective: Address barriers
to accessing care within the MHS, including TRICARE coverage gaps and mental
health care access challenges
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 Aug, 2020 DoD IG 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.
Secure an independent evaluation of TRICARE reimbursement rates for
mental health care providers and the impact on access to care under the TRICARE
Extend TRICARE eligibility to dependents up to age 26 with no additional
premium to bring TRICARE on par with commercial health plans.
Objective: Protect family
support programs, and ensure military-provided services (housing, PCS,
childcare) are affordable, readily available, and meet quality standards.
Overview: Programs and services for military and
veteran families are often the first to see cuts to staffing, quality, and
availability when government funding becomes tight. These benefits are
essential to ensure servicemembers are squared away and can focus on the
mission. Additionally, military spouses play a vital role in a servicemember’s
decision to stay in the military. When DoD prioritizes people first, it can
retain a mission ready all- volunteer force.
Create innovative approaches and incentives to increase
access to quality childcare providers.
Address military spouse unemployment rate through resources,
program expansions, and private sector incentives.
Push for full implementation of comprehensive housing reform and
Improve accountability of contract movers and claims during PCS
Assess impact of COVID-19 on programs and progress.
OBJECTIVE: Sustain Veterans Health Administration
(VHA) foundational missions and services.
OVERVIEW: Since the VA
MISSION Act was signed into law in 2018, VHA has been aggressively pursuing implementing
one of the most historic shifts in how VA will deliver care in the coming
years—a system virtually untouched by major transformation in more than 25
years. There are a lot of challenges facing the VA as it attempts to sustain
its four health care missions (clinical, research, education and training, and
emergency management response) and the associated programs and services that
have earned VHA its reputation as a high-quality health care system.
Strengthen and modernize VHA’s Workforce.
Eliminate health disparities for
women-minority veterans to ensure health equity in accessing timely, sensitive,
and quality care and benefits through VA.
Expand access to caregiving, palliative,
geriatric, and extended care programs and services for veterans and wounded
Objective: 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 strategy. 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, benefit, and retirement credit inequities
abound and must be eliminated to honor the vital role of our Guard/Reserve
Financial readiness equals operational
readiness; expanding Military Lending Act protections to the Guard/Reserve
forces will support their activation with reduced stress to meet financial
Forced arbitration agreements for
USERRA and SCRA must be eliminated to protect servicemembers’ rights.
Eliminate Guard/Reserve retirement pay
processing delays and support timely health
care benefits for retirees.
impact on short-notice deployments relative to employers and concerns noted
the presumptive process to support veterans claiming service-connected
disabilities for toxic exposures.
Overview: When deploying to defend our nation, we
pursue cutting edge weapons, tactics, techniques, and procedures to defeat our
enemies. After the fog of war lifts, the consequences on our servicemembers
become apparent, sometimes decades later. When illnesses from Agent Orange,
burn pits, and other hazardous materials cause illnesses, the current practice to
place the burden of proof and record-keeping on veterans. Many are unable to
prove their exposure. While research is done, ill veterans suffer without
health care, benefits. If the veteran passes early, their widows will not
receive the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
of legislation that concedes veterans serving in the Middle East and Southeast
Asia were exposure to hazardous substances.
Increase transparency and tracking around
toxic substance use and exposure.
Establish an advisory committee to recommend
research to for emerging conditions
Assess the impact of COVID-19 and its impact
on the health of servicemembers deployed to assist the whole of government
operations in response to the pandemic
Objective: 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 CH61 have their retirement pay offset for
every dollar of VA disability received. The Congressional Budget Office
estimates fixing concurrent receipt will cost $33 Billion dollars over 10
years. An incremental strategy to break up concurrent receipt into smaller cost
brackets can gain progress.
- Continue to support concurrent
receipt legislation and the incremental approach to making progress.
- Develop solutions with professional
staff members and the House and Senate for feasible language in the NDAA.
- Advocate to build cosponsors for
concurrent receipt legislation such as H.R. 5995/S.3393 the Major Richard
Objective: Protect Arlington National Cemetery as an option with full
military honors for those currently eligible through expansion of our national
SECARMY has approved draft eligibility changes for internment and inurnment at
ANC to extend the life of the cemetery. Unfortunately, if the eligibility
changes are approved, many who had planned for an in-ground burial at ANC will
have to change plans.
- Advocate for a halt to the current
proposal with DoD and lawmakers.
- Engage members and TMC to make
strong comment to DoD.
- 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 planning by establishing a
pay raises for the troops and COLA raises for retirees.
Pay raises for the troops and COLA raises for retirees represent a commitment
on behalf of our government to recognize their service and sacrifice, past and
present. Budget challenges often focus
on reducing such outlays to help fund weapons acquisition and other programs.
There is no doubt, such challenges will appear in the coming years.
- Protect COLA
and maintain pay raises tied to the ECI
- Monitor the Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation for
indications of DoD cost saving measures at the expense of servicemembers
to monitor COLA and pay raises each Oct and proposals in the pending QRMC.
Overview: After the repeal of the Widow’s tax in the
2019 NDAA, there remains injustices to correct on survivor issues.
a platform with TMC survivor committee to garner support for efforts
commensurate with the 117th Congress.
Build cosponsors for The Caring for the Survivors and Families of
Veterans Act of 2020.
Continue to support DIC improvement to bring
it on par with federal employees.
the U.S. Coast Guard continues to receive pay during a government shutdown.
Overview: During a government
shutdown the USCG is not paid. Legislation such as The Pay our Coat Guard Act
would protect Coast Guard servicemembers’ pay in the event of a lapse in
appropriations or shutdown. For the 117th Congress the Pay our
Coat Guard Act will require significant support for inclusion in the NDAA.
Continue to support and renew the TMC
letter for the 117th Congress.
Advocate lawmakers to cosponsor The
Pay our Coast Guard Act.