• P.O. Box 65900 Washington, D.C. 20035-5900
  • 202-257-5446
  • P.O. Box 65900 Washington, D.C. 20035-5900
  • 202-257-5446

March 3, 2015

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft
I filed an appeal and a reviewer stated to me that I should contact my friend in Washington DC. The reviewer found the medical records showing both my legs to be injured in the Military in Germany and at Ft. Polk also suffering from Anxiety in Germany from working in counter intelligence.

Mike
Via The Internet

Dear Mike
I highly recommend that you file an appeal with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shaft Notes
The president of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), retired Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, USN, recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on personnel today, urging Congress to carefully consider any changes to the TRICARE program and military health care system Conthat potentially would have a negative impact on the military medical readiness and career retention required by the all-volunteer force.

During the hearing on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s (MCRMC’s) military health benefits recommendations, Ryan welcomed proposed changes to the MHS, saying the commission, Congress, and the military community were all seeking the same objective: “a health care delivery system that is far more efficient, effective and sustainable than the current system.” He continued, “I believe we all agree that the status quo is not acceptable.”

Ryan explained MOAA’s divergence with the commission’s position, saying the association believes problems with TRICARE such as rising costs, barriers to access, and lack of customer service in certain areas “can be addressed in a systemic manner without resorting to its elimination.”

“MOAA has consistently stated that the largest barrier to a truly efficient and highly reliable heath care organization is the three-service system,” said Ryan. “In the 1980s Congress demanded, over the strong objection of the Pentagon, that the services fight wars jointly. It is now time for Congress to insist that the services do the same immediately in the medical area.”

Ryan went on to say, “Study after study has concluded that a unified medical command that has a single budget authority over the three military systems will yield significant cost savings and efficiencies that will make the military system one we can all be proud of.”

Ryan discussed a recent MOAA survey of 7,500 beneficiaries, noting “eight out of 10 prefer TRICARE to a health plan similar to what federal civilians use.” He cautioned Congress to “take the time necessary to ensure all stakeholders understand the second- and third-order effects” of contemplated changes.

Ryan reiterated that out of the “commission’s 15 recommendations, the two that propose dramatic changes to both military retirement and health care programs could have serious impact on the career retention required in the all-volunteer force.” He continued, “Both recommendations produce a negative effect on the pocketbook of patriotic Americans for whom the government needs to serve for a career of 20 years or greater.”

“If Congress and the administration decided to adopt these two very financially impactful recommendations from the commission,” Ryan concluded, “MOAA believes the risk to the quality of the all-volunteer force would be significant.”

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and John Boozman, R-Ark., along with Rep. Mark Takano, D-Ca., today introduced the GI Bill Fairness Act, legislation that would ensure wounded Guardsmen and Reservists receive the GI Bill benefits they’ve earned.

Members of the Guard or Reserve who are wounded in combat are often given orders under 10 USC 12301(h) for their recovery, treatment and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, federal law does not recognize such orders as eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill education assistance, meaning that unlike other members of the military, these members of the Guard and Reserve actually lose benefits for being injured in the line of duty.

The GI Bill Fairness Act would end that unequal treatment and ensure these service members are eligible for the same GI Bill benefits as active duty members of the military.

“By disqualifying wounded Guardsmen and Reservist from benefits they should be earning, this quirk in law is literally adding insult to injury” Sen. Wyden said.  “That’s not anything I want to support, and our commonsense, bipartisan legislation will fix this problem by making sure these brave Americans get the benefits they’ve earned.”

“It is truly unjust to deny wounded and injured service members the ability to accrue educational benefits for the time they spend receiving medical care.  Today, I am proud to join Sen. Wyden and Rep. Takano in sponsoring legislation that fixes this oversight in the law,” Sen. Boozman said.

“Many Guardsmen and Reservists serve in nearly the same capacity as active duty service members, and we should treat them equally if they are injured while putting their life on the line for our country,” Rep. Takano said. “This legislation would ensure those members get the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits they deserve. No veteran should lose their benefits simply because they were in the National Guard or Reserves. I’m proud to introduce this legislation in the House, and I hope that Democrats and Republicans can come together to treat these heroes with the respect they deserve.”

More than 500 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. arrived in the Nation’s Capital last weekend to urge their members of Congress to end sequestration, which is set to restart Oct. 1.

“America is still a nation at war, and the looming restart of mandatory sequestration will have a devastating impact on the ability of our military to respond when and where necessary, on homeland security, and on military quality-of-life and veterans’ programs everywhere,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud. “Our members— all voting constituents—will use this face-to-face opportunity to demand that their Congress put an end to the sequester, to defeat continued attempts to force veterans, service members and their families to shoulder an unfair share of the nation’s debt, to approve advance appropriations for all VA accounts, and to fight to preserve the safety and security of the United States and the continued viability of the All-Volunteer Military.”

 

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