Thank you for contacting me about proposals to change TRICARE for Life (TFL). It is an honor to represent the people of Southwest Washington, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me
America’s military and military veterans are integral to our country’s freedom and independence. I am grateful for their service and sacrifices, and I am committed to preserving the benefits our servicemen and servicewomen deserve. I understand your concerns about proposed changes to TRICARE. I am looking for ways to preserve the program for current and future military veterans.
In 2001 Congress created TFL for military veterans age 65 and older, prior to its enactment military retirees, their families and survivors relied solely on Medicare after regular TRICARE benefits expired. TFL is designed to pay patient liability after Medicare payments for benefits that are usually covered under TRICARE, but not Medicare. TFL is available to all Medicare-eligible uniformed service retirees and Medicare-eligible family members or beneficiaries under age 65 who are also entitled to Medicare Part A because of disabilities. Currently, there are no enrollment fees for TFL, but beneficiaries are required to cover their share of Medicare Part B premiums.
Multiple reports issued by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office have listed TRICARE as one program within our federal budget that needs to be reviewed to ensure current and future military veterans will continue to have access the health care they earned. Under President Obama’s proposal the first-ever enrollment fee for TFL would be enacted to raise an estimated $6.7 billion in revenue over 10 years. The enrollment fee would be $200 in 2012 and continue to rise. The president’s proposal would also increase pharmacy co-pays for military beneficiaries. The Department of Defense and members of Congress are both reviewing the President’s proposal. My goal is to find solutions to our debt problems that will allow us to preserve programs like TRICARE and TFL to continue providing important services to our military and veterans.
I appreciate your thoughts on this issue, and I will keep them in mind as I continue working with my colleagues to ensure our military and military veterans receive the support they deserve. Rest assured, I will not support a plan that
Thank you for contacting me on these important issues. I invite you to visit my website at www.HerreraBeutler.house.gov for additional information or to sign up to be kept up to date on these issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Member of Congress
MY NOTE: This is the first reply that I have gotten from her that directly addresses and responds to something in my letter. The phrase “balances our budget on the backs of our military and veterans” was taken from my letter.