MOAA’s efforts on behalf of its members and the uniformed services community on Capitol Hill continue to show results, and continue to be recognized alongside other leading advocates.
For the 15th consecutive year, The Hill named MOAA to its list of top lobbyists – those “who stand out for delivering results for their clients in the halls of Congress and the administration,” according to the news outlet.
“While this has become a regular honor for MOAA, it’s a reflection of hard work and a recognition we don’t take lightly,” said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s president and CEO. “And it wouldn’t be possible without member involvement, especially those at the chapter level, who have provided such remarkable support for our efforts to preserve earned benefits for servicemembers, veterans, retirees, families, and survivors.”
Health Care and More
MOAA’s legislative efforts have covered a range of programs, not the least of which has been a continued focus on the protection of earned health care benefits. MOAA’s continued fight to halt thousands of proposed medical billet cuts resulted in language in the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent such reductions until a year after the bill’s passage. MOAA also has seen success in ongoing work to prevent disproportionate TRICARE fee increases and to demand transparency and complete analyses by Defense Health Agency (DHA) officials to ensure any proposed restructuring of military treatment facilities (MTFs) does not come at the expense of beneficiary access to high quality, timely health care.
[RELATED: MOAA’s 2021-22 TRICARE Guide]
MOAA also has worked to improve access to VA health care, especially as COVID-19 restrictions hampered in-person visits. A MOAA-supported bill to expand VA mental health care in rural areas took effect in June.
As in past years, MOAA’s signature advocacy effort – Advocacy in Action – showed significant results. With the support of members nationwide, MOAA contacted all 535 congressional offices and sent more than 20,000 messages backing key benefits programs. One of those programs – a Basic Needs Allowance designed to assist junior servicemembers and their families facing food insecurity – is on track to become law as part of the FY 2022 NDAA. And omnibus legislation in both the House and Senate remains in play to provide comprehensive toxic exposure reform, which would benefit veterans across generations and continue work to simplify and speed up a challenging benefits process.
[ADVOCACY IN ACTION 2021: How Your Work Has Made a Difference]
Toxic exposure reform was one of several legislative priorities presented to key congressional leaders during a joint Veterans Affairs Committee session in March. MOAA’s work on this issue and others was noted by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, who told attendees at MOAA’s annual meeting that the group was “among those most responsible for keeping that promise” of caring for the nation’s veterans.
MOAA’s work on behalf of military families also continued in 2021, with further implementation of portions of the so-called tenant “Bill of Rights” – protections for those in privatized military housing from health-threatening maintenance issues that include a withholding of rent if a landlord doesn’t meet specified deadlines.
“Our work on all of these issues and others is far, far from over,” said Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s vice president of Government Relations. “Not just because the NDAA process is ongoing, but because there will always be threats to chip away at earned benefits across the spectrum. That’s why we continue fighting to preserve things like cost-of-living adjustments, and pay increases that match the Employment Cost Index – ongoing concerns of critical importance to our members. Recognition like this from The Hill for 15 straight years shows we’re staying in the fight.”
MOAA Fights for You
Get involved and make sure your interests are addressed.