It was a heavy lift to ensure Congress did not raise TRICARE fees - and the MOAA membership was utterly amazing. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort, and it paid off.
The House and Senate came out July 23 with combined FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which they negotiated during the last several weeks.
MOAA was hyper-focused on a Senate-backed provision to significantly raise TRICARE fees for retired beneficiaries under age 65. We were pleasantly surprised to see the provision to end grandfathering and raise TRICARE fees did not make it in the final bill.
Many in Congress also saw these increases as an erosion of military beneficiaries' earned benefits, which have been earned through careers of service and sacrifice. MOAA is grateful for the opportunities to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss the impact these fee increases would have had on millions of beneficiaries. Specifically, meetings with Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) of the House Armed Services Committee, Chair Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), and Ranking Member Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) from the Military Personnel Subcommittee, led to the support necessary to ensure these increases were not in the final bill.
The critical exclusion from the legislation is an enormous success, and largely is successful thanks to the many MOAA members who took the time to write their elected officials. Congress' inboxes were flooded with over 17,000 MOAA-suggested messages explaining that yet another round of fee increases was unacceptable for TRICARE beneficiaries. This mass swell of grassroots support, combined with many thousands more messages from our partners in The Military Coalition, all culminated in shaping the conversation as the defense bill went to the conference committee.
While this victory may prove to be only a reprieve in the larger budget battles to come, it is indeed an important one. The mobilization of our MOAA members combined with a supportive Congress put the ball over the goal line.
Thank your representatives in Congress for standing with us, with a MOAA suggested letter.