(HEALTH) JCS TO CONGRESS

REACTIONS TO GEN PACE’S TESTIMONY
From various sources

General Pace:

You and the other Joint Chiefs could serve your troops and your country much better if you would tell the President, DOD and Congress what they NEED to hear… not what they WANT to hear… even at the risk of having to resign your posts for showing the kind of backbone you once showed in war! Resigning would be more honorable than playing political Chess with actives and retirees as pawns.

Byron D. Varner, U.S. Navy (Ret)
Sarasota FL

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NEW TWIST

This is a new twist by the Chairman of the JCS, hitting a new low, who should be reminded that the military medical budget was taken from the line and given to the Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1992. At that time, the JCS handed the budget over without a whimper.

What the Secretary of Defense has to do is to ask the Congress, through the Defenses Budget submitted to the President, for the money to fund medical care, without any fees, due the military, both active and retired. This is part of the price to be paid for the medical care DOD and the Congress have promised members of the military, serving a full career with retired pay, for preserving the freedom of the United States.

What the President needs to do is to tell the politically appointed head of OMB to shut up and let this happen. The Congress has stated, with intent, they will oblige.

I can not believe that, for the first time in the history of the United States military, a Marine Corps officer would leave his troops on the battlefield and for what purpose.

General Pace, with all due respects and admiration sir, you need to stand up for your troops.

“Chesty” Puller, God Bless him , must be turning over in his grave…

Very respectfully,
Robert V Clements
Brig Gen USAF ret

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DOD'S TRAP

The problem with SecDef's testimony and what the Department is requesting is that virtually all of their “re-balancing” effort is being done out of the wallets of a single beneficiary group - retirees and their families under age 65.

The trap DOD is in is that retirees 65 are the only group that they can do this to.

The 24-star letter signers won't let them do it to active duty families because it will hurt recruiting and retention.

Congress won't allow DOD to hit the over-65's with a premium beyond part B for TFL because it was Congresses way of fixing the “broken promise.”

So Rumsfeld is stuck. He has no where to turn but to those retired and their families who are 65.

Another interesting revelation in his testimony, and I do not believe he wanted it to be quite this transparent, is where he talks about employers telling people to go use their Tricare benefit. He acts as if this is wrong. What is wrong with people using the benefit they were promised, earned and are entitled to?

Harold M. Koenig, MD
Vice Admiral, Medical Corps
U.S. Navy, Retired
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Dear Sir:

During my 23 years of active duty (1953-1975), I had always looked upon the JCS as the champions of the military men and women, who we could count on to stand up for us to DOD, Congress and the President.

I never imagined that you would turn your back on us and surrender to the demands of an increasingly uncaring government. We served with honor and self sacrifice… we fulfilled our contract with our government with the best years of our lives… and now that our service days are over it is most disheartening to see how we apparently have become a nuisance and a burden.

If our government and DOD need to save money, let them cut out some of the useless “pork” and waste, and not do it on the backs of those who made it possible for them to sit in their ivory towers and so casually talk about the expense of caring for the vet and military retiree. If we don't deserve that care… then pray tell me… who does ?

Ted L Cook USAF Ret.
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Dear General Pace:

The price tag of war continues long after the last shot is fired.

Last night while watching C-SPAN I listened intently to your presentation regarding military health care issues and how they affect the budget of the military establishment. I was saddened to hear you fully supported raising Tricare premiums for former career military veterans and their families who have yet to reach eligibility to begin receiving Medicare.

General Pace, career military personnel and their families are the backbone of the military. During their long years of service they have made great sacrifices to our country and have served the military with distinction. The medical care benefit which was earned by their service should not be taxed further in order to pay for weapons systems.

I would suggest to you and others serving under you that you take the case of increased health care benefits to the Congress instead of trying to balance the budget of the U. S. Department of Defense on the backs of former career veterans. When a country calls its people to rally to the colors, it had better be prepared to pay for their service, in the short run and also the long run. To do otherwise is to risk disaster on the home front as well as the war front.

Sincerely, and comradeship,

PAUL L. BALAICH,
U.S. Army/US Air Force 3/46 - 8/68
Alamogordo, New Mexico