By Harry Riley firstname.lastname@example.org
Class Act Group members and others have been working toward restoration of earned military retiree, spouse, and widow medical care since 1996. Col George “Bud” Day, Medal of Honor recipient, former POW in Hanoi, and attorney, filed a lawsuit against the US Government challenging the 1995 government policy of kicking military retirees, spouses, and widows who reached 65 years of age out of military treatment facilities.
The lawsuit ended in 2003 at the US Supreme Court as they would not hear Col Day's case, however, the Federal Appeals Court language clearly indicated the US Government (Congress) has a “moral obligation” to do what it said it would do (“give us 20 or more years of military service and we'll provide government funded lifetime medical care for you and your dependents”) for military retirees. The case was instrumental in bringing pressure on Congress which resulted in TRICARE for Life in the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act Bill, and we believe was the catalyst for raising awareness of general retiree and veteran benefit issues such as disability compensation, pharmacy, Survivor Benefit Plan, widows issues, etc.
After the Supreme Court decision, Class Act Group has focused total attention toward educating the US Congress that denying, ignoring, or delaying earned medical care benefits for military retirees is reflective of a “use and abuse” or “used bag” attitude and sends mixed signals to current and future warriors.
The goal of the Brown Bag Project is to continue our education process of Congress in a unique communication method. The objective is to cause all Congressmen/women to take a fresh look at our new Bill, “Keep Our Promise to America's Military Retirees Act” that will be introduced in the new 109th Congress. Rep Chris Van Hollen, MD and Senator Tim Johnson, SD, will again introduce the Bills which will include the language of our old bills HR3474/S2065 that had 257 House and 11 Senate Co-sponsors.
Of particular concern and focus should be those Representatives and Senators who did not cosponsor HR3474/S2065 and those who are newly elected. You can view who our cosponsors are by clicking on http://www.classact-lawsuit.com and scrolling down to the links S-2065 Co-Sponsor Status HR3474 Co-Sponsor Status
We can thank those Congressmen/women that have cosponsored our Bills but remind and urge them to sign on to the new Bills that will be initiated in the new 109th Congress. Congressmen/women that have not cosponsored our Bills should be firmly encouraged to “get with it” and cosponsor the new Bills that will be introduced.
For many just entering our net and wondering what the Brown Bag Project is and how it works, below is the idea Tom Gould suggested and has been implemented. In the last four weeks there have been nearly 10,000 Brown Bag letters from across America sent to Congress and the President.
You can view the status of your State and your Representative/Senator with regard to the number of Brown Bags recorded being sent to each Congressional member and the President at http://mrgrg-ms.org or http://mrgrg-ms.org/cgi-bin/educate-the-congress.cgi
Editor’s Note: For background info on the Brown Bag Project, read the reprised article that follows.