Military health care has been a hotly debated issue within the popular press and among politicians for the last ten years. This is as a result of the development of programs that government military health care, in a privatized manner, and the attempt to cut costs in doing so. (“Relations with Non-Federal Entities Outline,” 2001)
The Department of Defense operates one of the largest and most complex health-care organizations in the nation. Including their overseas facilities, the Army, Navy, and Air Force operated about 465 military treatment facilities (MTFs) in 1999, including 91 hospitals and 374 clinics (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1999b).The beneficiary population consists of approximately eight million active duty personnel, retirees, survivors, and their dependents. Their care is provided through a program called TRICARE, which offers both managed-care and fee-for-service options. TRICARE managed-care providers include the MTFs and a network of civilian providers administered through regional contracts with civilian managed-care organizations. The fee-for-service option also covers care provided by civilian providers who have not joined the network.(Hosek & Cecchine, 2001, p. 2)
The adequacy of availability for standard care as well as combat or on duty injuries and illness care is questioned all over the nation, as many individuals claimdifficulty in access and high cost as barriers to receiving even the most basic care, including follow up care for injuries sustained in the line of duty.
The challenges to veterans benefits seem to be even greater, but budget manipulations are occurring that may in the long run and short run seriously damage the system, that has been so highly prized as an essential benefit to soldiers since the civil war.
Once again the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and other members of the Military Coalition are having to gear up to fight the Penta…