The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) has issued a statement opposing the recent White House proposals to reduce military healthcare and retirement benefits by $27 billion.
The President’s proposal, known as the Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, calls for an increase pharmacy co-payments for service members’ families and military retirees, requirements for Military Retirees over 65 to pay an annual enrollment fee for TRICARE for Life (TFL) and establish a commission to study possibility of replacing the current retirement system with a civilianized 401(k) program.
Defending the current military retirement system, FRA National Executive Director Joe Barnes said: “Military service is unlike any other government or civilian occupation, with inherently higher risks and required sacrifice than those borne by private-sector employees. Justifying proposals to reduce benefits for military personnel and retirees based on benefits available in the corporate world is disingenuous. These proposed increases are in addition to TRICARE enrollment fee increases expected to take effect in FY 2012, and although these are proposals at the moment, they represent genuine threats to promised benefits earned through 20 or more years of arduous military service."FRA also sent a letter to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, urging lawmakers to examine the impact these proposed cuts would have on military recruiting and retention, citing the growing stress on service members that’s reflected in increased suicide and higher divorce rates among military personnel, along with declining morale and threats to military readiness. The letter also asks committee members to honor the commitments made to veterans and career personnel who served in the past.