MOAA’s Advocacy in Action Summer Campaign garnered continued support for two key advocacy goals – the preservation of your TRICARE pharmacy benefit and the restoration of the Basic Allowance for Housing – thanks to ongoing grassroots work from thousands of MOAA members and other supporters.
MOAA has amassed over 33,000 messages in support of the two topics sent via our Legislative Action Center since AiA work began earlier this year. The House version of the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes actionable language on both issues; an Aug. 24 letter from Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s president and CEO, addressed to the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate encouraged support for the related House provisions during the upcoming conference committee session.
[RELATED: Read MOAA’s NDAA Priority List]
TRICARE Pharmacy Cuts
We appreciate MOAA members’ efforts to build support for a much-needed analysis of beneficiary impacts related to the pharmacy network cuts. Hundreds of families have shared their stories about barriers to access resulting from the narrowed network.
Data reporting will help quantify these challenges, particularly for rural residents and the elderly. MOAA will leverage this information in our advocacy efforts and ensure Congress reviews this critical information as part of their oversight role on the military health care benefit.
The concerted efforts from MOAA members during the AiA campaign led to increased support for the BAH Restoration Act and a Senate companion bill. Additionally, the House version of the NDAA includes a 1% restoration of the allowance, which signifies acknowledgement from Congress that servicemembers are struggling financially.
MOAA will continue to build support for the standalone legislation while simultaneously urging appropriators to ensure the funds are provided for the 1% restoration of BAH as a starting point.
Growing Our Advocacy Base
Driven in part by these campaign engagements, the number of supporters registered for MOAA’s Legislative Action Center approached 20,000, with a surge over the last two weeks. We welcome this growth and need to continue making major progress if we are to be prepared for any significant decrements to our service-earned entitlements.
What form could those decrements take? As we have regularly reported, every two years the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides Congress with a list of options to reduce government outlays. The intention is for this report to inform members of congress as they grapple with budgets through the congressional cycle. Option No. 8 in the CBO’s report is to charge out-of-pocket fees for TRICARE For Life for the first $850 worth of cost sharing, and then pay half of the next $7,650 – the grand total cost to the beneficiary would not exceed $4,675 in 2026. Option No. 16 is to reduce VA disability pay for those who receive payments in 2024 or later who later turn 67. (Read the recent report for more details).
Some of these issues may not directly affect you, but we must continue to support all ranks and each of the eight uniformed services. Remember, if Congress makes changes relative to the options shared by the CBO, there is a warranted concern for other actions, deeper cuts, or changing eligibility, which would widen the impact.
[TAKE ACTION: Join MOAA’s Legislative Action Center]
As we may face challenges of this magnitude, MOAA will need many more than just 19,700 advocates. It takes two key components to succeed at this level of advocacy:
- A compelling, data-driven argument with personal examples highlighting the impact to those who served, and their families.
- An exceptionally loud voice, achieved by having more advocates. Our base of over 360,000 members should be able to yield at least double the number of advocates what we have now.
Shaping Future Priorities
That voice goes beyond writing to your lawmakers, noted Lt. Gen. Kelly, MOAA’s president and CEO – it helps chart the association’s course.
“I’ve learned a great deal in a short time from our members, especially our council and chapter members, in my travels across the country, including just how committed members are to MOAA’s legislative advocacy mission,” Kelly said. “We rely on your input as we set our legislative priorities for the coming year and beyond, including which topics we should consider for the April 2024 Advocacy in Action campaign.”
Send your input on future AiA topics via this survey, which can be found on MOAA’s Legislative Action Center site. Some details:
- Your input should fall under one of the topic areas outlined in MOAA’s Legislative Priorities for the 118th Congress.
- Share the survey link with your network, and be sure to sign up for the Legislative Action Center if you have not done so already.
Keep up with the latest advocacy updates at MOAA’s Advocacy News page.
MOAA Looks Out For You
MOAA is committed to protecting the rights of servicemembers and their families. Lend your voice and support these efforts today. Because the larger our voice is, the greater our impact will be.