Today, House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting a briefing and explanation from the Department of Defense regarding the reprogramming request of $708 million from the Defense Health Program (DHP) and TRICARE. The Department of Defense has requested to use these funds for "higher priorities"; however, Chairman Wilson, along with 23 other Members of Congress, believes there are serious health issues facing our Armed Services and their families, which should take first priority.
"The Department of Defense previously attacked TRICARE and the Defense Health Program by requesting Congress to approve TRICARE enrollment fee increases for military retirees and their families with the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Thankfully, the House Armed Services Committee rejected this proposal in order to protect the best interests of our brave men and women in uniform who have dedicated their lives protecting this great Nation.
"Once again, the current Administration has targeted TRICARE and the Defense Health Program as a bill payer for undefined "higher priorities,' all the while asking Congress for the authority to raise fees on our military retirees and their families. Last year, the Department of Defense requested to use DHP left over funds for research and procurement of biofuels. It is absolutely irresponsible for the Administration to place wasteful biofuel programs over the health and safety of our Armed Forces. With the growing health threats of post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and suicides facing our service members, it is absolutely necessary for the funds designated to TRICARE and DHP be used to better protect those who have risked their lives keeping American families safe."