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washingtonscene Civilian stores use variable pricing to


Legislative UPDATE


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create “loss leaders” — basic products that might be priced at a loss to the store but attract patrons to buy other products with higher profit margins. Variable pricing also could lead to vary- ing commissary prices by location. For ex- ample, in areas where costs outside the gate are higher, commissaries could adjust pric- ing upward, so long as patrons experience the equivalent level of savings compared to local groceries. Accordingly, if local grocery stores typically are priced lower than the national average, the commissary would have to adjust its prices downward, poten- tially at a loss, to provide savings. Therefore, some assignments might re- sult in higher or lower out-of-pocket costs to patrons to put the same food on the table. MOAA hopes these pilot programs are successful in finding efficiencies without deteriorating the benefit. The commissary isn’t just a store on a military installation. It’s one of the key mechanisms through which DoD delivers a military benefits package intended to sustain long-term retention and readiness.


Top Doctor Talks D 42 MILITARY OFFICER JUNE 2016


efense Health Agency (DHA) Director Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, USN, hosted MOAA president Lt.


Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), and sev- eral other association leaders March 28 to discuss aspects of defense health programs. The meeting began with a discussion of the budgeting process and the flow of funds through DHA to the military services. In response to MOAA’s request concerning actions to address shortcom-


Health Care MOAA meets with the Defense Health Agency director.


ings in access to care, DHA staff provided a briefing on the military services’ efforts to increase appointments in military facilities and make progress toward the goal of “first-call resolution” for appoint- ment requests. Bono’s staff also provided an update on TRICARE payment rate changes for ap- plied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for autistic children. MOAA and others have expressed concern the payment reduc- tions could affect access to ABA providers. DHA representatives said they would be watching this closely. Atkins also recently met with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommit- tee Chair Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), and staff members of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. “These meetings are great opportuni- ties to build relationships and find com- mon areas where we can do what’s right for currently serving and retired service- members and their families,” Atkins says. “There are some areas where we’re going to disagree, but we need to keep up the dialogue, keep exchanging information and analysis, and keep working to end up in the right place.”


Protect VA I


Health Care MOAA asks commissioners to make improvements.


n late April, veterans’ groups voiced concerns over a controversial proposal being considered by a special commission set up by Congress to look at how to deliver veterans’ health care. The Commission on Care is tasked


with examining access to VA health care and how best to organize the Veterans


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