As Congress continues work on an overdue annual budget as well as longer-term financial concerns, MOAA continues its work to keep TRICARE For Life fees and cost shares off the table as possible revenue-generating tools.
MOAA outlined these concepts early this year, shortly after their inclusion in a 2022 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report designed to offer lawmakers options for downsizing the federal deficit. But MOAA’s Karen Ruedisueli, director of Government Relations for Health Affairs, took the opportunity during a recent radio show appearance to stress the need to remain engaged on this topic with lawmakers.
“A big part of my job at MOAA is to be out there scanning the environment for threats. And when the CBO puts out an idea like this, we consider that a threat,” Ruedisueli said during an interview with Veterans Corner Radio host Bill Hodges. “Is it an imminent threat? No. It is out there, though, and we believe it’s really important to address these ideas upfront.”
Why engage at this stage? Doing so allows MOAA to inform legislators of the risk posed by the plan to their constituents, Ruedisueli said – costing beneficiaries hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical costs and betraying then nation’s obligation to provide this long-term benefit to those who served.
“Our concern is that by the time it becomes a legislative proposal, somebody out there is counting on those savings that would be generated by these ideas,” she said. “And at that point, it becomes much more difficult to combat this. … So we really think it’s important to get out there and explain why these things are a bad idea.”
MOAA members and other advocates had sent more than 42,000 messages to lawmakers on the proposal as of Oct. 30 via MOAA’s Legislative Action Center. It’s one of several ongoing campaigns addressing MOAA priorities; while suggested messages are available and easy to send, Ruedisueli advocated for including a personal touch.
“We always encourage folks to remind your member of Congress what your career in the military entailed,” she said, adding that the sacrifices may be obvious to veterans and families, but not to those unfamiliar with the military – which may include your legislators.
Veterans Corner Radio is available through multiple podcast services and can be heard on local radio stations, including WSCQ-FM in Sun City Center, Fla. Hodges, an enlisted veteran, is an honorary member of MOAA’s Sun City, Fla., chapter. More information is available at the show’s Facebook page.
MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), made his second appearance on the program in September, outlining other MOAA advocacy priorities, including the successful implementation of the Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.
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