Pelosi Statement on Republican Proposal to Increase Fees for TRICARE
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement following a roundtable discussion this afternoon hosted by House Democrats with the leaders of several veterans' and military organizations. At the same time, House Democrats, led by Congressman Chet Edwards led the fight in the House Budget Committee to block TRICARE fee increases, the number one issue of concern expressed by the veterans' and military organizations.
"Today, we heard loud and clear from the leaders of our nations veterans' and military organizations that blocking the ill-advised TRICARE fee increase including in the President's budget is their number one priority.
"The Bush budget increases TRICARE health care premiums for 3.1 million of the nation's military retirees under 65. Premiums will double for senior enlisted retirees and triple for officer retirees by 2009 and drug co-payments will increase -- costing military retirees $2.4 billion over five years. These fee increases of more than $1,000 could drive more than 144,000 military retirees out of the TRICARE system, leaving them without the health care they earned through 20 years of service.
"It is unconscionable to impose a fee increase on the men and women in uniform who bravely sacrificed for our country, especially during a time of war. We must demonstrate our commitment to our troops and future veterans by assuring them that just as they protected us, we will take care of them when their service ends.
"Just as our men and women in uniform vow to never leave a soldier behind in battle, so must we commit to never leaving a veteran behind when they need healthcare."