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February 2012


The Honorable Paul Ryan Chairman, Committee on Budget U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515


Dear Mr. Chairman:


As the committee considers the FY 2013 budget resolution, I am writing to urge against including bud- get proposals that would:


• dramatically raise health care fees for retired servicemembers and their families to make them


more “civilian-like”; • punish currently serving troops and their families with pay-raise or other compensation cutbacks


and force reductions inconsistent with continuing mission requirements; and • assume significant future savings due to ill-advised proposals for significant cutbacks in the mili-


tary retirement and compensation package. Such initiatives fail to acknowledge that:


• generations of servicemembers were induced to serve a career by promises that, if they agreed to accept the extraordinary demands and sacrifices of the military for 20 to 30 years, their extended service and sacrifice would earn them the current top-tier benefit package;


• those extraordinary sacrifices constitute an enormous up-front premium (which very few civil-


ians are willing to incur for a single term of service, let alone two or three decades) for their lifetime coverage, over and above the fees they pay in cash; and


• past proposals that envisioned much less severe military retirement cuts than recently proposed had to be repealed when they undermined retention and readiness


Last year, DoD witnesses acknowledged to Congress that military retirement is “neither unafford- able nor spiraling out of control.” Much of the growth in military health care costs is attributable to military readiness requirements (when military doctors deploy, patients are sent to more expensive civilian care) and the inherent inefficiencies of the fragmented military health care delivery system. Military beneficiaries who have borne the brunt of national wartime sacrifice for generations should bear no share of such costs.


Please ensure the FY 2013 budget resolution does not retroactively devalue the premiums of service and sacrifice already paid by career servicemembers and those grievously injured.


Sincerely,

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