Deficit Reduction Plan Eyes Health Care
Published: Friday, December 13, 2013

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) proposed a series of changes in the delivery of health care to service members, military retirees, and veterans, in an effort to trim the burgeoning federal deficit. In a Nov. 13 white paper, CBO suggested requiring TRICARE Prime beneficiaries with single coverage to pay $550 and families to pay $1,100 annual fees and higher copayments for treatment. Single retirees or surviving spouses who use TRICARE Standard or Extra would have to meet a $350 annual deductible. Families with similar coverage would meet a $700 annual deductible. These beneficiaries also would have to pay annual fees, set at $50 for single coverage and $100 for families. The new fees would be indexed to reflect nationwide growth in health-care spending in future years. The changes could reduce discretionary outlays by $20 billion between 2015 and 2023, according to CBO. Alternatively, CBO also suggested that working-age military families should be made ineligible for TRICARE Prime coverage. Under this plan, discretionary outlays would be reduced by $71 billion from 2015 to 2023. CBO also suggested in the report that the Department of Veterans Affairs no longer provide health-care services to low-priority veterans, who have higher incomes and no disabilities or conditions that warrant VA compensation. Ending health-care coverage for these so-called Category 7 and 8 veterans would reduce discretionary outlays by $48 billion from 2015 through 2023.





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