What’s This I Hear About Military Health Care Reform?

Care Not Cost Campaign

You’ve probably heard rumblings about potential changes coming down the pike for the Military Health System (MHS) and you may have questions about what exactly MHS reform will mean for your family. The answer is nobody knows yet what shape MHS reform will take, but our Association’s top priority this year is ensuring that military family needs are part of the MHS reform process.

A little background…

The recent MHS reform discussions were kicked off last year with the release of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s (MCRMC) report in January, 2015. The MCRMC proposed a radical change to military health care – eliminating TRICARE and offering military families a menu of high quality commercial plans similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program.

Congress chose not to adopt the MCRMC recommendation last year. Does this mean the MCRMC proposal is dead? Not exactly. Leaders from both the House and Senate have made it clear MHS reform is a top priority. As part of reform discussions, Congress may be considering all or parts of the MCRMC proposal. They may be looking into a variety of other options. We just don’t know at this point.

What has NMFA done about MHS reform to date?

Our Association has been instrumental in shaping the discussion about what military families need from the MHS.

  • Last February, we developed a detailed response to the MCRMC health care proposal and testified before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees (HASC and SASC) Military Personnel Subcommittees. 
  • In November, 2015 NMFA hosted a panel discussion to kick off a dialog about MHS reform on Capitol Hill. 

  • In December, 2015, we testified on military family health care needs before the HASC Military Personnel Subcommittee.

  • Also in December, we participated in a roundtable brief of HASC and SASC professional staff regarding military kids’ health care needs.

  • In February of this year, we submitted testimony for the record to the SASC Personnel Subcommittee outlining military family health care needs.

  • On March 17, 2016, we participated in a roundtable discussion with the House Armed Services Committee Military Personnel Subcommittee regarding MHS Reform and DoD’s health care budget proposal.

  • Over the past year, we have had numerous meetings on Capitol Hill to educate decision makers on shortfalls within the MHS as well as unique needs of the military family population.

What’s happening now with MHS reform?

The Department of Defense recently released the Fiscal Year 17 budget proposal including their plans for the MHS. This is the first tangible plan since the MCRMC report release. Our Association has been analyzing the Department’s health care plan. We’ll share our perspectives on it in our next MHS reform article.

 

Posted March 15, 2016

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