Health Care Dilemma

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says the cost of health care is not sustainable. Nor is the cost of social welfare or a failed federal department of education, but I guess those are sort of off topic.

I adore Adm. Mike Mullen. (I was told by one of his classmates he is the last guy standing from Naval Academy Class of ’68.) I believe everything the man says. With future cuts in defense dollars and health costs that continue to rise, he’s probably correct that the cost of health care is not sustainable. According to Mullen health spending was around 19 million in 2000-2001. It has reached $50 million and is on course to hit $64 million in the next few years.

The majority of the Pentagon’s war chest is spent on personnel. I still say reduce personnel and you will start to get control of this challenge. (See Musicians Oct 4!) Mullen wants to charge higher medical fees to retirees and their families. Ability to pay aside, it has always seemed wrong to charge retirees. Many entered the service and stuck around under the assumption (promise) of heath care for life. This has been a matter of some debate. “We never promised that!” say some wonks. Oddly that’s what most who have served heard.

The Christian Science Monitor recently covered this topic and included MOAA.

I’d be curious about similar costs during World War II and at the end of the war in 2010 dollars. Was there a decrease in cost? If costs were just $19 million in 2000, adjusting for increases in medical care, one would think costs would be similar at the end of current operations when the size of the forces are cut.

My guess is our boy Mike Mullen may be making some theater of his own and basing medical costs on a war that will continue at least another decade. Americans probably will not stand for that option.

Should military retirees pay increased health care costs?

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