Legislative Update 4 March 2016: Make Your Voice Heard On Health Care Fee Hikes

We have 1 Action Item today at Issue 1 or 2



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON HEALTH CARE FEE HIKESHelp prevent disproportionate DoD-proposed cuts and fee increases. Urge Congress not to break faith with those who have served.

(See Issue 1 below for the details. GF)

At Issue 2. we see PAY, BENEFIT CUTBACKS HURTING TROOP MORALETroops take notice. Senior enlisted leaders tell Congress actual and proposed benefits cuts are affecting currently serving troops. (See Issue 2 below for the details and to send messages to our Legislators. GF)

At Issue 3. we see CONGRESS GOES TO BAT FOR WASPS, OTHER WWII VETS Eligibility issues for Arlington clarified. Female pilots, Merchant Mariners, and others fight to regain inurnment rights. (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF)

At Issue 4. we see CALLING FOR APPLICATIONS FOR MOAA’S BOARD OF DIRECTORSApplications are due by March 31. This year, eligible MOAA members will elect 12 new members to serve on our board. The association needs highly qualified officers with proven track records in the grades of W-1 though O-10 to serve on the board.

(If you are MOAA member and are interested, click on CALLING FOR APPLICATIONS FOR MOAA’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS here or above to see 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






Help prevent disproportionate DoD-proposed cuts and fee increases. Urge Congress not to break faith with those who have served.

(Clicking on MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON HEALTH CARE FEE HIKES here or above to take you to a link where you can scroll down to LEGISLATION ACTION CENTER to send messages to our Legislators. However, I suggest that you go to Issue 2 below and read more detail on this issue and then come back here and click on MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON HEALTH CARE FEE HIKES here or above to send the messages. GF)


NOTE: At the LEGISLATION ACTION CENTER you can scroll down to the usual “Compose Message” section that shows who will receive your message (Your U.S. Senators and/or Your U.S. House Representative) and enable you to select the option of “Email” or “Printed Letter”. And again some of you who haven’t used the system before or recently, may have to enter your Zip Code someplace along the line.


You can then scroll down to see a draft message which can edit if desired. And scrolling down further you will see the usual “Sender Information” section where your usual personal information needs to be entered if it does not automatically appear due to your past participation (which it did for me today). Check the information closely and make any corrections. And at the bottom check the  Remember Me!” block so that you won’t need to enter or change any information the next time you use the process..


Then hit “Send Message” or hit “Preview Message” if desired and then hit ”Send Message”.


For any whom this is not enough detail to send the messages, drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what type of problems you are having.


Gene Fenstermacher

[email protected]

(520) 378-1471







March 4, 2016

The Senior Enlisted Advisors for each of the military services testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies on quality of life issues. Topics at the hearing ranged from single-sailor housing to suicide prevention and spouse employment.

Other prominent topics included erosion of compensation benefits, such as pay raises and housing allowances, certification and licensure for servicemembers transitioning, the new retirement system, and health care.

Of particular concern was the erosion of pay and benefits over past and forthcoming years. “Fiscal conservation is our duty as leaders in public service, but it’s hard to explain program and compensation cuts to a young solider and his or her family,” said Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “Whether actual or perceived, these things affect how they view our decisions.

”The other advisors on the panel echoed the sentiment: the mere discussion of cuts shakes the morale of the force and their trust in leadership.2016 is the second year of a five-year plan to reduce housing allowances, and the FY 2017 budget proposes capping the military pay raise below the average American’s for the fourth year in a row. Discussions over reform to the commissary and health care could increase other current and future out of pocket expenses.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody said, “If the Budget Control Act is not repealed and current trends continue, our projections show that compensation for an average E-5 with dependents stationed in or near (sic) Washington, D.C. will fall behind private sector pay in 2018 and behind increases in household expenses in 2021.”All of the witnesses echoed his concerns.

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green voiced worry over upcoming changes to the retirement plan and the ability of Marines to make the right choice when the plan becomes active on Jan. 1, 2018. “Most of them will have a choice, either one system or the other…we’re pedaling away trying to get that information out there, but it’s very important…and that ship will take a long time to turn if we get it wrong,” he said.

Witnesses also discussed health care reform, acknowledging that while care in military treatment facilities is good, access can be difficult for families. Previous surveys by MOAA on beneficiary access say the same thing.

As the committee has jurisdiction for military and veteran appropriations, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) emphasized a need for better DoD and VA integration in health care delivery.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens touched on the risks in health care reform. He said, “It’s important that as we…look at ways to save monies and reduce costs of military medicine that we don’t overreach and start counting too much on the civilian sector both inside the states and really outside the states…because it can impact readiness without really knowing about it until it’s too late.”

(Now click on MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON HEALTH CARE FEE HIKES here or at Issue 1 above to send messages to our Legislators..  GF)


4 March 2016


Eligibility issues for Arlington clarified

Female pilots, Merchant Mariners, and others fight to regain inurnment rights.

(Click on CONGRESS GOES TO BAT FOR WASPS, OTHER WWII VETS here or above to see the interesting details and participate in a one question survey about  “What do you think Arlington National Cemetery should do moving forward” and view the current results of the survey after you make your selection.  GF)




That’s it for today- Thanks for your help over the years!