Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Insurance Reform & TRICARE

One of the President’s top priorities since coming into office has been to give our veterans "the care they were promised and the benefits that they have earned." That began with the largest single-year increase in VA funding in three decades, and with trying to initiating electronic medical records that would follow a member of the Armed Forces through their transition into VA care and stay with them forever.

And so we have been particularly concerned with correcting any misperception that health insurance reform would have any negative effect whatsoever on veterans’ access to their care. One of the first "Reality Check" videos we made for our new page on myths about reform was with Matt Flavin, Director of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy:

Yesterday in response for our call for more myths and questions that we should address, however, we got an email from a veteran in Virginia:

"I am a 27 year Marine Corps Veteran on Tricare Prime. Will the "Proposed" or "Pending Legislation" affect in any way shape or form the current Tricare system?"

To answer that email and others like it, we’ve just added the following to our FAQ page on Hope this puts his mind at ease:
Q I am active duty military and I am worried that health reform will affect my care under TRICARE.

A The President is committed to ensuring that America’s servicemen and women have high quality care. This was an issue he fought for when he was a United States Senator and will continue fighting for as President. You have given much to your country, and we are determined to provide you and your family with good, reliable health care.

Health reform will only build on our commitment to military health care. TRICARE will continue to be available for all eligible servicemen and women, and their families. The health reform legislation that is being considered would enable those who are covered by TRICARE to meet the shared responsibility requirement for individuals to have insurance, thereby exempting such members of the uniformed services and dependants from being assessed penalties. If enacted, the President will ensure that this exemption is implemented aggressively. The Secretary of Defense would continue to maintain sole authority over the system and for enhancing the quality and access for all eligible members of the uniformed services.

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