We have No Action Items today
Summary of Issues
At Issue 1. we see SUPREME COURT RULES ON HEALTH CARE. Supreme Court issues landmark decision on health care. What does this mean for TRICARE? (See Issue 1 below for the details. GF)
At Issue 2. we see DATA BREACH NOTIFICATIONS SENT. Millions of OPM records accessed by hackers.. Extent of the damage still not fully understood. (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF)
At Issue 3. we see BUDGET SHORTFALL THREATENS VETERANS HEALTH CARE. Unexpected rise in health care demand strains VA budget.. Will Congress give the VA another bailout? (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF)
At Issue 4. we see MOAA ATTENDS MISSION TRANSITION EVENT . Career transition event hosted for post-9/11 veterans and military families. (See Issue 4 below for the details. GF)
At Issue 5. we see DOD WANTS YOUR INPUT ON MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM. TRICARE aims to improve transparency. (See Issue 5 below for the details. GF)
Collectively We Can and Are Making a Difference
FOR ALL, Please feel free to pass these Weekly Legislative Updates on to your group of Veteran Friends –
don’t be concerned with possible duplications – if your friends are as concerned as we are with Veteran issues, they probably won’t mind getting this from two or more friendly sources
Issue 1. SUPREME COURT RULES ON HEALTH CARE
June 26, 2015
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can continue to provide subsidies for health insurance to qualifying individuals. The decision upheld a centerpiece of the ACA and national health care reform.
The issue before the Court was whether individuals purchasing health care insurance through federally run exchange systems, rather than state run exchanges, are eligible to receive subsidies. Thirty-four states currently rely on the federal marketplace for health insurance plans.
TRICARE beneficiaries are unaffected by the decision. At the urging of MOAA and other military and veterans organizations, Congress passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act in April 2010, providing a statutory regulation saying that TRICARE satisfies the minimum essential coverage requirements of the ACA. Congress passed subsequent legislation a month later to exempt VA and CHAMPVA beneficiaries from the coverage requirements. These plans are also excluded from so-called “Cadillac taxes” on high-value plans.
Importantly, the ACA will not affect TRICARE or the VA’s health administration, eligibility, or cost to beneficiaries.
MOAA’s focus remains on safeguarding military and VA beneficiaries’ health care benefits, protecting against taxation of those benefits, improving access to providers, and ensuring long-term sustainability of Medicare and TRICARE. Our mission is to make sure government leaders in both the executive and legislative branches understand the important distinction between social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security and earned compensation for a career of military service and sacrifice.
MOAA will continue to track the ACA and ensure that military and VA beneficiaries are not negatively impacted.
Issue 2. DATA BREACH NOTIFICATIONS SENT
June 26, 2015
A cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management exposed sensitive information of millions of Americans.
It is currently unclear exactly how many are affected by the data breach; some reports speculate as many as 32 million people have been victimized by the attack. So far, officials at OPM have confirmed at least 4 million government workers had their personal information compromised.
The ongoing investigation has revealed military records were not involved in the breach; however, the personnel records of current, former, and prospective federal employees’ and some contractors’ background investigations may have been compromised.
OPM’s investigation continues with the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
OPM is offering free credit-monitoring services, similar to MOAA’s Identity Guard , to affected employees. So far, the services have cost the government $20 million.
DoD is the largest federal employer of military veterans. About forty percent of all DoD civilians are veterans.
MOAA remains very concerned over the OPM data breach. “It’s not only a violation of federal employee information,” said MOAA’s Director of Government Relations, Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret), “but also an incursion into the privacy of many of our members who transitioned to the federal workforce.”
We appeal to Congress and the administration to complete a thorough investigation and implement actions to prevent further breaches.
June 26, 2015
The VA is facing a $2.6 billion budget deficit this year, according to VA officials. Sloan Gibson, Deputy Secretary of the VA, told lawmakers the department needs the money to bridge the gap of the projected shortfall.
According to Gibson, the budget deficit is largely a result of increased demand for care outside of VA facilities and the rising costs of expensive hepatitis C treatments. A full round of hepatitis C treatments can run upwards of $100,000.
But Congress may not be so quick to hand over the money. Citing a “startling lack of transparency and accountability,” House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) told Gibson he was frustrated with cost overruns and delays with other VA projects, notably construction projects at medical facilities in Colorado.
VA officials also discussed their efforts to improve Community Care Programs. Including the Veterans Choice Program, seven different programs provide non-VA care. Each program comes with a different authorization process and a different set of authorities.
Gibson stressed that the outside care programs need to be reconciled and streamlined. He also asked the committee to remove some of the congressionally placed restrictions on how the VA can spend money on Community Care Programs. Without the budget flexibility, Gibson said the VA “will have to deny care to veterans, a position we don’t want to be in.”
MOAA believes Congress must work with the VA to ensure the department has the necessary resources to meet veterans’ health care needs.
Career transition event hosted for post-9/11 veterans and military families.
Former President George W. Bush pledges support.
(Click on MOAA ATTENDS MISSION TRANSITION EVENT here or above to see the details. GF)
TRICARE aims to improve transparency..
Your feedback is important – take their survey to provide your input
(Click on DOD WANTS YOUR INPUT ON MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM here or above to see the details and participate in the survey. GF)
That’s it for today- Thanks for your help!