Universal Health Care and the Legendary Phoenix

    Seems I was a little premature to throw in the towel on Universal Health Care (UHC).

    I caught this little ditty a few days back ...

    Beyond The Battlefield: Unprepared For Wave Of Severely Wounded, Bureaucracy Still Catching Up

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/19/beyond-the-battlefield-8-bureaucracy_n_1010688.html

    Many soldiers suffering from wounds and injuries that in past conflicts would have died are surviving. That places greater emphsis on the Veteran's Administration to provide the essential and necessary care for those survivors for the rest of their natural lives. And that costs money ... lots of money ... for a long time.

    But then I ran across this humdinger ...

    Veterans Benefits: Lawmakers Open To Changes In Military Benefits

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/22/veterans-benefits-_n_1026320.html

    First thing that caught my attention was this ...

    "... Republicans and Democrats alike are signaling a willingness – unheard of at the height of two post-Sept. 11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – to make military retirees pay more for coverage ..."

    Key point here is many military retirees prefer to use their military medical benefits in lieu of their company medical benefits ... military benefits are better than most corporate benefits and at no cost to the individual - it's part of the retiement package offered to them to make the military a career. Making them pay more simply because of a make believe issue ... raising the deficit ceiling ... will be a deciding factor in coming elections - something that will hurt GOPer's.

    But what's really interesting is this ...

    "... The numbers are daunting for a military focused on building and arming an all-volunteer force for war. The Pentagon is providing health care coverage for 3.3 million active duty personnel and their dependents and 5.5 million retirees, eligible dependents and surviving spouses. Retirees outnumber the active duty, 2.3 million to 1.4 million ..."

    If ever there was a need for univerasal health care, I would think the DoD would see UHC as the salvation to cutting costs.

    Yeah, it's nothing more than a transferring of payments from one government entity to another, however, there's a huge pool of people ... the entire public ... that would also be a part and the more people participating means there's a lower entry cost per individual.

    Beside, the VA is known as producing the highest quality care in the country ... better than both private and public facilities ...

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0501.longman.html

    They're the model for everyone to follow.

    Here's where it get interesting. When you add medical care to the billions paid in retirement pay too, personnel costs (active duty and retirees) have put the Pentagon "on an unsustainable course."

    Interesting.

    There is a willingness in Congress to consider cost-cutting changes to the military's entitlement programs.  For instance, some members in Congress are eagerly considering raising enrollment fees and imposing restrictions on the military's health care program at their expense to the military members and retirees as a means by which they can control they costs. Just the mere thought by congressional leaders is viewed by both active duty members and retirees as a breech of contractural obligations and promises.

    So Congress has painted themselves into a virtual corner on health care ... they're looking for savings can be achieved in providing medical coverage, but at the same time, they have to keep their promise to people who were recruited based on those benefits.

    To me, this sounds like UHC might get a second chance, especially when one considers the number of activity duty personel, their dependents, retirees and those individuals wounded in fighting to protect US interest abroad who will require long-term medical care and attention.

    And to make matters worst for Congress, they have little choice. If they decide to cuts medical expenditures at the expense of the military member,  they'll loose a necessary recruitment tool and their concept of an all volunteer force will wither on the vine.

    So I think UHC might be back on the front burner with some serious support by the DoD to make it happen to reduce their financial footprint.

     

    Latest Comments