TRICARE for Reservists: Anyone think Bush has the stones to veto this?

Finally, after all the whining, the pissing and moaning over the war that had me so aggravated, Tom Daschle did something that I never thought would happen.

He did something that I approve of.

I know, I know, it’s unbelievable, but it’s true.

TRICARE for Reservists may (almost certainly WILL) become a reality. Daschle put it on the $87 Billion appropriations bill that President Bush was pushing for, and ultimately will get. This was the third attempt to get this TRICARE legislation passed, and each time Rumsfeld said that he would recommend that it be vetoed. Well, now if he vetoes it, he has to veto the whole bill.

First of all, does anyone disagree with the idea of health insurance for Reservists being subsidized by the government? Second, does anyone think that Bush has the cojones to veto his own spending request for Iraq and Afghanistan just to kill this?

My answers: No, I have no problem with it, since I am in the most active unit in the entire Air National Guard and as a result will be activated a considerable number of times in the future. As much as we deploy, we should actually be an active duty unit, IMO, but we’re not, so this will benefit all of my fellow Airmen and their families.

To the second question: No way. If Bush vetoes this bill because of this provision he’ll be stoned the next time he shows his face. This has considerable support in Congress, and it’s hardly unreasonable for the families of Reservists being mobilized for extended periods to know that they’re not going to be tossed out on thier butts when they get back. Not to mention that he would be forced to veto his own request for funding. That would be some serious egg to clean off his face.

So, anyone else want to venture an opinion, good or bad?

I’d never venture a guess on what Bush will do. However, I think the men and women in our military, both active-duty and reservists, should be eligible for quality health insurance with public support. We have problems with filling slots now because of the poor pay and benefits we give our military volunteers (not to mention police, fire, teachers and other public servants) and that is a sad reflection on our country. We give more public money, in terms of benefit we get, to keep a sports team from moving to another city than we do to people we actually need.

I work in a doctor’s office and let me tell you that Tricare pays at Medicare rates, that is, at $0.25 per $1 roughly. If the doctor chooses to accept assignment he will lose money. Not accepting assignment means the patient pays at time of service 115% of what Medicare allows and gets to keep the benefit check after we file.

That said, we are willing to lose the money if the patient’s only coverage is Tricare and the patient’s sponsor is active currently.

And if the reservist is called up and has put his life on hold in the civilan world and has subsequently lost his private insurer what the heck are his dependants supposed to do?


I hope GWB signs the bill if only to give the reservists what is only right.

It would be an aggregious insult to the reservists if Bush vetoes anything involving thier benefits. Last week the Army Times had an article on DOD’s attempt to cut benefits across the board (acitve and reserve Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force). There is some info at
The idea that people will continue to re-up when they get deployed for up to two years at 24000 dollars a year with few benefits is ridiculous. The armed forces are already having huge problems keeping people on active duty, never mind guard and reserve units that have been activated as much as five times in the past eight years.
If anything, benefits and pay should be increased accross the board. Bush is running into a dead-end: the pace of deployments cannot be maintained by the current force structure. There is no question that manpower has decreased over the last ten years and missions have increased. Troops are becoming so overworked that even those that don’t have any monetary motivation are getting out.
Here on Ft. Bragg, I no longer here anyone talk about re-enlisting, just about what they are going to do when they get out. A scary though for the nations security.

I agree with you entirely. I, too, have been a medical billing specialist, and Tricare will pay Medicare fees if you’re lucky. I’ve gotten EOBs (explanation of benefits, for you civilians) back where the facility/doctor’s office billed in the thousands, yet Tricare paid a few hundred. So the percentage is more like 10-15%. And considering the hassle of getting Tricare to authorize anything, the doctor’s office is spending more on payroll than it’ll ever see in reimbursement.

However, I’m currently covered by Tricare, and it’s better than nothing. My son has had multiple ER visits covered in full without a copay or deductible. He’s also had surgery; again, it didn’t cost us anything out of pocket. We have an excellent drug plan; if the scripts are fillable at the local military clinic, they’re free. If we have to go to a civilian drugstore, it’s three bucks for generics and nine bucks for brand-name. I get a month’s supply of Imitrex for free, something that costs $160.00 retail for 9 tablets. I know that none of this is truly free; that the doctor’s office eats a lot of their fee and the Army isn’t getting the drugs for free.

Okay, all that aside, I read Col. David Hackworth’s column in today’s paper, and he raised an excellent point. The Army Reserve and National Guard have 60,000 out of 205,000 soldiers that aren’t medically fit to deploy, for whatever reason. It stands to reason that if all reservists and Guardsmen had reliable access to health care that isn’t dependent on a specific set of orders, then there would be a lot fewer soldiers with medical problems that keep them from doing their jobs. So this can be a cost-effective way to ensure a deployment-ready force.

Just my $.02.

Oh, and Mods: Airman realized that he probably mis-posted this. If you could, please move it to GD. Thank you.


Hey, Airman, I fully agree with activating TRICARE for Guard and Reservists. To be honest, I’m surprised it wasn’t already part of the deal . . .

Hey, do me a favor, and shoot me details of the plan in an e-mail. My current squadron is 1/4 Montana ANG, and I’d like to see how it would affect 'em.

Much obliged,
“Oswald” of the 819 RHS/219 RHF

I’d be astonished if he vetoed it. Jaw slack, blank-stared astonished.

The same level of astonishment I felt when I first got laid. That level of astonishment.

And not for any moral reason.

This has ‘political disaster’ written all over it. “Veto this and die” should be the first words out of Karl Rove’s mouth when the President brings this up.

He can’t veto it without vetoing the entire bill. The president does not have the line item veto.

Being a wild eyed screaming liberal hippie-whatever…

When the President and the Congress begin to have the same level of benefits that they subject the military to, then I will accept their opinion on any benefits package.

The idea that these reservists, who love their country enough to back up the active military in times of need, should be denied medical coverage is appalling. (I find a great deal of what Bush does appalling.)

Tricare has been gutted for retirees. Have they done the same for active duty? The shame that is the healthcare coverage system in this country gets worse every day. When the families of those people who are doing military duty have to go on foodstamps because they cannot afford adequate nutrition for their families, there’s something very wrong. And when we can’t offer health coverage to everyone that is serving, there is something criminally wrong. And the rot starts at the top.

I’d be even more astonished than that, JC, and not for any moral reason either. But rather because he signed it into law on November 6, at about 1:26pm EST, or about 27 hours before this thread began.
That said, anyone who’s paying attention knows that a lot has been asked of Reservists lately; a lot of reserve units are now being used almost as if they were active duty units. I’m all for doing anything within reason to make their lives more manageable, including this.