Association Testifies About Health Care Needs of Military Families
Joyce Raezer, Executive Director of the National Military Family Association, testified before the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) to discuss stakeholder views on military health care and military health care reform. In our testimony we highlighted the following:
- Affordable and timely access to health care is important to military families.
- The Military Health System (MHS) is unique in that it has dual readiness and benefit provision missions.
- Service members and their families consistently rate health care as one of the most valued aspects of the military compensation and benefits package.
- TRICARE status quo is not sustainable.
- The MHS should be on par with highest quality commercial health care plans, and tailored to address military families’ unique needs.
- TRICARE reform must consider all parts of the MHS including overseas and remote assignments.
- Health care is NOT “free” for military families, but a benefit based on the extraordinary demands, risks, and sacrifices associated with military service.
- Health care for Guard and Reserve families should be tailored to their unique circumstances.
Chairman Joe Heck (R-3rd/NV) asked the panelists to list three “ups and downs” of the current military health system. Raezer stated the downs are “access, inconsistency, and access.” The three ups are combat care, cultural competency of providers, and low costs for beneficiaries. Raezer shared an example of “silly” access rules that vary from MTF to MTF, such as asking a 28-week pregnant woman to take another pregnancy test to confirm a pregnancy before establishing care with a new doctor after a military-ordered move.
In our statement for the record, we conclude: “Military families deserve a health care system that facilitates, rather than impedes, their access to care. Second, the cumulative impact of these obstacles, delays, and inconveniences magnifies the effect of each one and, in some cases, creates an insurmountable barrier to accessing necessary care."
Join in the discussion. What would you like to see in TRICARE reform?
Posted December 4, 2015