Californian Bob Clements wrote a letter to his U.S. Senator and got a standard form-type reply that covered everything and said nothing. He fired back with this:

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I am very dissatisfied with your answer (obviously a “just answer the mail” job by your staff) to my inquiry about your position on the Administration's plan to impose large health care fee increases on military retirees and their families.

This is a vital issue for me and hundreds of thousands of other voting military retirees in our state, and we need more than an evasive “standard reply.”

The Administration plans to triple or quadruple TRICARE fees for people who served 20 to 30 years of arduous military service. In thousands of cases, it would mean paying an extra $1,200 a year or more. That's unacceptable treatment for people who spent a career defending every American's freedom.

I would like your explicit assurance that you will strongly oppose those fee increases and work to mobilize Congress to do so.

Last year, Congress rejected an Administration plan to raise fees for VA health care by $250 a year for veterans who served as little as two years in the military. Surely, you can now make a firm commitment to opposing fee hikes of 4 or 5 times that much for people who spent decades sacrificing for all Californians and all Americans?

Your first “standard staff reply” made no such assurance. It said:
“Once again, thank you for writing. I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind as the Federal budget process continues. If you have any further questions regarding this issue, please feel free to call my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841.”

That extremely vague answer doesn't reassure me or any of the other 200, 000 military retirees living in the state of California. I would like your personal assurance that you will fight hard to oppose raising fees on military retirees who already paid higher premiums for their hard-earned health care — through decades of arduous service and sacrifice — more than any civilian ever has or ever will.

Robert V. Clements

“If It Weren't For The United States Military There Would Be NO United States of America”
Questions Senator?


Bob added, for our benefit, “I have yet to hear from my Congressman (Lungren). We are planning on attending one of his “town meetings.”

Jug's comment: Great letter, Bob! If every military retiree would hop on the bandwagon and contact their Senators and Representatives with factual letters like this, and vote against those who provided only “lip service,” perhaps we could retain some of these health care programs in their originally intended state.