Lawmakers Ask DoD to Realign $708M in TRICARE Funds

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24 bipartisan representatives signed a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking the Defense Department to realign $708 million from the Defense Health Program and TRICARE budget, Gov Exec reports.

Lawmakers have not yet been briefed on specific priorities mentioned in the request.

TRICARE provides health care insurance for 9.6 million active-duty service members, retirees, and their dependents.

The letter states lawmakers apprehension with the budget realignment request due to pertinent and pressing health issues within military service members and retirees, according to Gov Exec.

It identified post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and high suicide rates as strong basis to defend health care funds.

Fiscal 2012 appropriations reserve $53 billion for the health care of military service members, retirees, and their dependents.

However, health care costs have quickly doubled in the last 12 years while the enrollment fees remain stagnant since 1995, according to Gov Exec.

The administration proposed to increase fees in fiscal 2013, however both chambers rejected the proposal.

The letter suggests that the representatives have information that TRICARE is impaling DoD’s fiscal strength but the situation seem inapplicable since the latter maintains a $708 million surplus for fiscal 2012, Gov Exec reports.

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