Letter forwarded by Floyd Sears
If you are a military retiree, READ THIS LETTER from retired Air Force medical officer George A. White, Dothan, AL to his Congressman. Then, either send a copy of this article as an E-mail enclosure to your own Senator and Represenitatives, or send it via snail mail.
Dear Congressman Davis:
In your recent response to Retired Master Sergeant Earl Warmath , you repeated what he and thousands of us already know, but it sounded as though you were just now made aware of it.
It also seemed apparent that you either don't know the difference between a “Veteran” and a “Retired Military Person”, or you thought that Earl was referring to non-career military veterans.
A Veteran is anyone who has served at least 90 days active duty in some military branch during some period of war or conflict. These “veterans” receive care at VA Medical Facilities, and although their entitlement is for “service connected “medical problems only, the VA has been providing them more than just that for many years. Earl was referring to “Military Retirees'.
Military Retirees are members who have served twenty or more years active duty in one of our military branches. Although Military Retirees are also veterans, they were promised that their twenty or more years of active duty military service would entitle them to care in “Military Medical Facilities” for any and all medical needs for themselves and their spouse, for life. “VA Medical Facilities” and “Military Medical Facilities” are two different facilities and serve different people.
This was a promise made all during every military person's military career as a part of “career counseling”. Some years back, Congress started downsizing and closing military bases and the Military Medical Facilities were downsized and closed also. Even though closing these facilities that were necessary in order to provide the care that was “earned” and “promised” represented a malicious intent to ignore these promises, Congress did it anyway, leaving the aging Military Retirees out in the cold. Just in the past few years Congress passed legislation and initiated TFL (Tricare For Life) - a program that would pay for the part that Medicare would not pay, for those individuals who were Medicare eligible (over 65) and were paying into part “B”.
Those under 65 and not eligible for Medicare were left with an even less desirable Tricare program with initiation fees and co-pays. Although these are both lousy programs that Physicians and Medical Facilities across the country are increasingly refusing to accept due to the government's poor reimbursement history, this is the “bone” that was thrown to our country's Military Retirees by our self serving Congress. And now they are planning to increase the fees relating to both of these programs and their attached prescription programs, and this is what Earl was referring to.
I hope you can now see that this is a far cry from the “earned entitlement” of cost free medical care that was promised to Military Retirees. We are treated like second class citizens with never ending complicated, paperwork and never ending increasing fees, while Congress has no difficulty funding totally free medical and dental care for ALL criminals in ALL prisons across the country, and to ALL “illegal” immigrants” and even to “mid-east terrorists” - while the very men and women who have served and sacrificed (some through three wars), in order to insure the freedoms that you and all others enjoy, are given nothing more than lip service and “political spin”.
The fact that the above mentioned people who ARE receiving cost free medical care have not only, not “earned it”, but they have actually ALL broken the law, is a national disgrace. If I was a member of Congress I would be ashamed.
Most of our appeals to countless Congress persons has resulted in either no response or some “canned political spin” or some lip service never meant to go anywhere. Please do not give us more of the same.
I'll tell you what I would do if I were a member of Congress: I would take my very first opportunity to address my Congressional peers and I would demand that this atrocity be stopped immediately and that the earned medical care was to be restored immediately with no conditions and no qualifications other than the “Retired Military ID Card” that, for many decades, assured every retiree of medical care in ANY Military Medical facility where he or she requested that care.
If my Congressional peers did not agree to act immediately, I would state my intention to get before any and every media source with a microphone and make sure that this atrocity was made known to all American citizens, and I would continue this until the “wrong” was made “right”.
You see, the American citizens as a whole, are really not aware of this. Congress has shielded it and “spun” it by misleading the public and continually referring to “Veterans care” and VA facilities when the issue is addressed. I astound many civilians regularly when I tell them that I can no longer get medical care in a Military Medical Facility, because most of them have either served for some time themselves or have known others who have, and they know that Military Retirees were promised care when they retired. In fact the entitlement to medical care was the single most motivating factor that has led members to elect to remain in the military for a career.
If you cannot measure up to this challenge, please do not make us any other empty promises or give any other excuses. Just tell us you don't care.
George A. White
Capt USAF-Ret. (Medical Officer)
Dothan, AL 36303