RETIREE MEDICAL PROMISES RECAP

By Floyd Sears, MSGT, U.S. Air Force (Retired)
“I am a retired American military fighting man. I served in the Armed Forces which guarded our country and our way of life. I was prepared to give my life in my country's defense. I will never forget that I was an American military fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made our country free. I will continue to trust in my God and in the United States of America, and for as long as I live, I will continue the fight to regain the medical care that was promised to the American Military Retirees before their retirement.

The greatest swindle of all time… a broken contract with America's military retirees.

While on active duty in the United States Armed Forces, from 1951 to 1971, personnel in positions of authority acting as agents of the United States Government promised me and millions like me that if we served for 20 years in the military and retired we would receive free medical care for ourselves and eligible dependents at military treatment facilities for as long as we lived. As you should know this medical care promise has been broken.

On 16 July 1996 - Colonel George E. Day filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court in Pensacola, FL, to regain the medical care that had been promised. This lawsuit ran the government gauntlet with wins, losses, and appeals, from both sides until 2 Jun 2003 when the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. See http://mrgrg-ms.org/cag-hist.html .

In the process of arguing the promised medical care case Colonel Day proved the military retirees allegations that the Armed Forces did make the medical care promise and we had a contract. On 8 Feb 2001, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit made this unanimous decision. “The retirees entered active duty in the armed forces and completed at least twenty years service on the good faith belief that the government would fulfill its promises. The terms of the contract were set when the retirees entered the service and fulfilled their obligation. The government cannot unilaterally amend the contract terms now. “In contracts involving the government, as with all contractual relationships, rights vest and contract terms become binding when, after arms length negotiation, all parties to the contract agree to exchange real obligations for real benefits”.” However, the government could not let this decision stand because it would, cost too much money, embarrass too many government agencies, including the Congress of the United States, and they appealed. See http://mrgrg-ms.org/d99-1402.html#conclusion .

In their 18 Nov 2002 conclusion the full court of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a nine for and four against decision, said this… “We cannot readily imagine more sympathetic plaintiffs than the retired officers of the World War II and Korean War era involved in this case. They served their country for at least 20 years with the understanding that when they retired they and their dependents would receive full free health care for life. The promise of such health care was made in good faith and relied upon. Again, however, because no authority existed to make such promises in the first place, and because Congress has never ratified or acquiesced to this promise, we have no alternative but to uphold the judgment against the retirees' breach-of-contract claim.” See http://mrgrg-ms.org/f99-1402.html#conclusion .

The court went on to say, “Perhaps Congress will consider using its legal power to address the moral claims raised by Schism and Reinlie on their own behalf, and indirectly for other affected retirees.” Military Retirees are still waiting for the Congress to act on the court's recommendation.

The words of the court say that we proved our case, but in the end we lost because on 2 Jun 2003 the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The government had the decision they wanted and there was no need to continue any further.

We fought the fight to regain the medical care we were promised and the court said that the promise was made in good faith and relied upon, but no authority existed to make the medical care promise. As a result we have been swindled out of the medical care we were promised and the Congress of the United States looks the other way. For the full story look at and listen to a series of narrated web pages on the Internet starting at http://mrgrg-ms.org/swindle00.html .

I now ask you to support HR 602, the Keep Our Promises to America's Military Retirees Act, because it's the right thing to do. Don't add insult to injury. Don't allow military retirees to be cheated out of the medical care they were promised.

Floyd Sears, MSGT, USAF, 1951 to 1971 (retired) - 6733 Riviera Drive, Biloxi, MS, 39532 - fsears@bellsouth.net

Retired Military Advocate. Working the Military Retiree medical care broken promise issue.

WEB pages:
http://mrgrg-ms.org/ (Home Page)
http://mrgrg-ms.org/history1.html (History)
http://mrgrg-ms.org/talking.html (Talking Points)
http://mrgrg-ms.org/swindle00.html (Swindle Briefing)
http://mrgrg-ms.org/swindle.ppt (PowerPoint Download)
http://mrgrg-ms.org/letters.html (Letters to Editor)
http://mrgrg-ms.org/billbrd.html (Billboard History)