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A key House panel rejected the idea that budget cuts must mean pain for service members, retirees and their families.
On Wednesday, the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel approved legislation that rejects the 1 percent capped pay raise proposed by the Obama administration and again rejected efforts to increase Tricare fees for military retirees and their families.
The bill prepared by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the panel chairman, calls for the 1.8 percent pay raise required by law to keep pace with private sector wages. This is a rejection of the 1 percent pay raise defense officials said was essential to making balanced cuts in military programs.
Wilson’s bill also flatly rejected the Defense Department’s latest proposals to increase Tricare Prime enrollment fees, create enrollment fees for Tricare Standard and Tricare for Life, and raise pharmacy copayments.
Defense officials have pleaded for Congress to approve these increases, especially fee hikes aimed at working-age retirees, as a way of holding down rising health care costs.
Wilson has never supported the Defense Department’s plans for health care fee hikes, and only reluctantly agreed to allow annual fee hikes equal to the annual cost-of-living adjustment in military retired pay, which was 1.7 percent last year.