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The U.S. Healthcare Bill and the U.S. Military Healthcare System

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I’ve lived within the military healthcare system for 25 years, and it didn’t take me quite that long to trudge through the healthcare bill. With very few exceptions, this bill is just not that different from the healthcare system the U.S. military has had for a very long time. In all the bickering over this bill, I have yet to hear, "We don't want something better than what we've given our military," but instead I hear, “This is socialism!” 

I would ask those who cry foul, what the hell? I’m not suggesting that just because it’s good enough for your military it’s good enough for you, but hey, isn’t it? Where were all the cries of “Egads, socialism!” when the military’s healthcare system and Tricare were put into place? Ignorance of the entirety of this country’s healthcare system is no excuse.

C’mon now, you’ve watched for many years as our war wounded have come home into a healthcare system that, even though it works most of the time, is nothing short of a human rights violation when it doesn’t work. Have you cared? No – not until you found something legislated into your lap that is the handsome older brother of the system currently serving your military.

There are two significant differences between this bill and the military healthcare system/Tricare:

1) Measures have been put in place to eliminate or minimize the amount, duration and severity of ass-pounding the civilian insured and potentially insured would get from an insurer.

2) Civilian children can be covered by their parent's policy until age 26 whereas Tricare will not be made to do the same for military children. Tricare will continue to insure a child to age 21 who is not in college and to age 23 if the child is in college. This part of the bill specifically exempts Tricare and thus excludes all children of active duty military and children of retirees.

The differences notwithstanding, the military healthcare system/Tricare still beats the ever livin' crap out of some of the best insurance policies in the civilian market. For civilians it just got a whole lot better than if they’d just been given the same system the military has right now – and still there is moaning and groaning that does not, for the sake of consistency, include outcry over how the military was specifically excluded in the upgrade or the socialist nature of the military’s healthcare system.

If you can’t bring yourself to see the bright side of the sun the least you could do is stop standing in everyone else’s light.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great points. Both my sister and brother-in-law have started their medical careers in military hospitals. However, whenever I approach them now about it serving as a viable model for what could possibly be implemented on a larger scale and nationwide, they both balk.

    Even so, I doesn’t stop them from complaining they can barely make a living from the practice.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu saved the life of my wife and child.

    A local civilian hospital cost me the life of a child.

    About Tricare, my wife and I have told each other how deeply grateful we are that we’re covered for life, that unlike so many other Americans we will NEVER have to choose between paying the mortgage and paying for health care, or between declaring bankruptcy and paying for health care.

    Sometimes I see retired military (and/or their spouses) complain about how horrible military hospitals and Tricare are…but they’ve no idea how it feels to make the choices I listed above.

    You see what my opinion is. But it’s good to see that there are others who hold the same opinion.

  • Louis B. Adams

    My wife and I are proud of our service and of our military hospitals and doctors. I have had only two borderline negative experiences and they were immediately after my wife’s retirement from active duty in the Air Force. I blame the individuals, not the system. By the way, why are our Senators and Congressmen, (women), not under the same rules and benefits as the general public. They are not special, they were elected to serve us, not themselves.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I also have been part of the military health care system, for over 34 years now. I’m fine with what I EARNED. I don’t like that my youngest daughter is gonna get kicked off this year unless she heads back to school full time. She turns 21 in August.
    Both of my daughters were born in civilian hospitals while I was on active duty. The navy’s choice and I’m kinda glad for it because of some of the other experiences both my wife and I had at Balboa out in SD. I had some very good experiences as well. I’d say a little of both over hte years, but probably more better than not…

    But now that I’ve done my time the federal govt is gonna tax me to pay for YOUR health care and you’ve done absolutely NOTHING to deserve it. It’s kind of ridiculous really, they’re gonna take back some of the money they give me every year so they can pay for your health care and I just don’t think that’s right. I feel like they’re gonna give some of you something for nothing that cost me 20 years of my life. A good life, but a very underpaid life by comparison to what I’ve done since…

    We have medicare and medicaid to take care of our most needy citizens. I know of at least two women here in Virginia Beach that got or are getting fine care while having a child under medicaid. And we already pay for it. Let’s fix those systems to pick up some more people. But let’s face it! There are some people that just need to get off their asses!
    I’m not sure that Tricare is all that great…at least not as far as doctors are concerned. I recently had a full 50 year old exam and when I was given a list of gasto-enterologists, probably not spelled right, there were only two in all of Hampton Roads! This is the most densely populated area of VA, more populated than the area around DC and there were only two and one of them was on the other side of the bay! I can’t say why that is, but I assume it’s because they don’t get paid the way they do from “cadillac” health plans pay. That doesn’t make it a bad thing, but they don’t pay for chiropractic care and I know a lot of health care plans do.

    I guess I should just be happy I have it right? At least that’s the crap I get from people. I did twenty BECAUSE it promised me health care for ever. It’s like investing in your future. My 401k gave me a check and health care for the rest of my life. Now some of you want me to pay for yours and I’m selfish, what did you EVER do for me?

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Military benefits would be a step up from what we have with a 10k deductible and insurance that doesn’t cover certain meds and problems. It’s not a perfect system, though. My retired dad would rather go to a civilian hospital than a military one, and because he’s retired, he’s down the list for treatment. (First active duty, then dependents, then retired.) I was a dependent during the Korean through Viet Nam era and do not recall ever going to the military doctor. You couldn’t get in unless you were on your deathbed. Contrast that to my kids, who were at the doctor’s office every other week during those germy years between 3 and 6.

    What always irked me about the military was that they promised benefits and then slowly took everything away. Look out people of America. We’re more expendable than our soldiers.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Joanne,

    This may have to do with priorities and limited resources – especially during such times as Vietnam or Korea. But I don’t see any inherent flows in the model itself.

  • John Wilson

    Andy Marsh: exactly WHAT did you ever do for me that I should pay taxes for you to sit around on your ass. It sounds like you got a free ride for 20 years and now you want more. You’ve been sucking at the Federal Teat all your life and show no signs of reforming.

  • John Godburn

    John Wilson: 1. I’d like to know how old you are. (just for some perspective) 2. I’d like to know whether or not you’ve served and for how long (again, just for some perspective)and 3. As far as I’m concerned, those who have taken an oath to preserve protect and defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, then spend an entire career doing so without complaint deserve the nation’s gratitude – if this means seeing to the medical needs of Veterans and Retirees and their families, this is a small thing. Personal opinion -Firefighters and Police Officers should be included in this and are for the most part through their retirement plans

    You should probably read some about the history of Retiree medical benefits and, by the way – when you think about it the costs of our medical benefits are funded just as much by us (Veterans and Retirees) as you I assume you pay taxes) since we pay taxes as well. While Mr. Marsh’s beef is somewhat unfounded since he’s already paying taxes for Medicare and Medicaide – he doesn’t deserve your vitriol.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What’s your age, John Godburn? Why don’t you tell us something about yourself?

    Or are you hoping perhaps to discredit the content by discrediting the messenger?

    It’d seem to me you could have simply posted the bulk of your comment without points 1 and 2. Of course by not having done so, you have prefaced the entire remark by however slight trace of ad hominem. And all along, you probably thought you were being subtle.

    Better luck next time.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Well Mr. Wilson, as I said in my comment I spent twenty years in the military just so YOU could run your mouth. Of course, I’ve just been sitting aorund on my ass all these years. That’s all folks in the military EVER do. And they’re paid so well to do it too! And we know how much people like YOU appreciate our sacrifices…

    ASSFACE! That’s not a personal attack, he IS an assface!

    I don’t want more. I have what I EARNED! People like you, on the other hand, are the ones sitting around waiting for the govt to supply you with something you haven’t done a FUCKING thing for!!! Except maybe badmouth the military…

    And in my comment I said let’s fix medicaid and medicare, since we’re all already paying for it.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    And one more thing about this health care bill.

    It’s a racist bill.

    Any of you care to estimate how many minorities will be paying the tanning bed tax?

    Just a thought…