Today, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) applauded approval of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which rejects efforts to increase certain health care costs for military retirees in the TRICARE system. Lautenberg, an Army veteran, has been working to gather support for bipartisan legislation to minimize any increases in military health care fees.
"A tough fiscal climate is no excuse to balance the budget on the backs of our nation's military retirees and their families. This legislation protects career military personnel from unfair health care fee hikes and helps guarantee that health services are affordable for those who served and sacrificed for our country," said Lautenberg, an Army veteran.
Senator Lautenberg has long led the fight in the Senate against burdensome increases in TRICARE fees. Last year's (FY 2012) National Defense Authorization Act included language limiting TRICARE fees that was based on legislation Senator Lautenberg had previously introduced, and the bill approved today continues that policy. The bill approved today is also consistent with the "Military Health Care Protection Act of 2012," introduced by Senator Lautenberg and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). The Lautenberg-Rubio Act would prohibit the percentage of increase in certain military health care fees in any given year from exceeding the percentage of increase in military retired pay, thereby protecting military retirees, surviving spouses, and their families from undue financial burden.
The bill approved today also includes an amendment authored by Senator Lautenberg expressing the sense of Congress that access to quality health care services is a benefit earned by military retirees due to their contributions of service and sacrifice.