This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
washingtonscene This is an extremely crucial budget


year for the entire military community. Isn’t it worth the price of a few stamps to help protect what you and your broth- ers and sisters in arms have earned in re- turn for your lengthy and arduous service? Please take a few minutes to sign, stamp, and mail these letters today.


Medicare/ TRICARE Threat


Late update: Just before Christmas, Congress approved a two-month delay in the payment cut.


Won’t Die A 27-percent cut still looms.


A


s this column was being writ- ten in mid-December 2011, Congress still had not addressed


the looming 27-percent cut in Medicare and TRICARE payments to doctors sched- uled for Jan. 1. After delaying almost all of its essential


work until the last two weeks of the year, Congress scrambled to pass a defense bill and annual appropriations. But fixing the biggest threat to health


care access — stopping the Jan. 1, 27-per- cent cut in Medicare and TRICARE pay- ments to doctors — was wrapped up in last-minute partisan brinksmanship as legislators sparred over a package that would put off the cut and extend unem- ployment benefits. The House-passed bill included a


two-year fix to the Medicare/TRICARE payment problem but would pay for it by extending a federal civilian pay freeze, cutting the civilian workforce, authorizing an oil pipeline across mid-America, and other politically charged initiatives. The Senate had given up on negotiations with the House and worked out a bipar- tisan bill to put off the doctor fix for two months until Congress reconvened in 2012.


38 MILITARY OFFICER FEBRUARY 2012


After Congress left town for winter


recess, House leaders still were arguing they should come back and keep negotiat- ing — even though their history of being at loggerheads made the prospect of a late breakthrough appear remote. This is a huge deal. Everyone in Congress wants to stop the


cuts, but they can’t stop bickering over how to pay for it and how long they can af- ford to delay the cut. As the year wound down, MOAA was busy generating thousands of member messages to legislators urging them to do whatever it took to stop the 27-percent cut from devastating seniors’ and military health care access Jan. 1.


Military Family O


Panel Meets MOAA president draws applause.


n Dec. 1, 2011, MOAA Presi- dent Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., USN-Ret., represented the military community in a panel discussion before the Congressional Military Family Caucus and invited guests. Caucus cochairs Reps. Cathy McMorris


Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Sanford Bishop (D- Ga.) hosted the forum to provide military families a platform to discuss key issues and concerns with subject-matter experts and members of Congress and their staffs. Employment, health care, and retirement were among the key topics addressed. Ryan’s remarks focused on two key pil- lars of the all-volunteer force that are most threatened: health care and retirement. He stressed these are the critical incen- tives that entice our men and women in uniform and their families to endure de- cades of extraordinary sacrifices inherent in a military career.


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