Military Health Care Under the Knife

It would seem as if the overall intent of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is to eventually morph into a single payer government health insurance program. This can be largely accomplished by rendering three major health care programs unsustainable and by significantly lowering participation by medical providers. Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare are on an unsustainable funding path and  physician reimbursibles have been cut to the point where the number of physicians who will accept patients covered by these programs is significantly declining.

Tricare Prime is the HMO style military health plan which covers active duty, dependents, and most retired personnel. The Pentagon plans to cut the network of providers in three states and two cities in the Tricare West region. This will affect about 30,000 Prime beneficiaries, including retirees, Active Guard/Reserve members, and family members. Unfortunately, for those living in Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, Reno NV, and Springfield MO, they will have to switch to Tricare Standard which is a much more costly health plan. This saves dollars for the Pentagon by cost shifting to the beneficiaries. It does not affect Active Duty personnel and their dependents–yet. However, it will affect them if they pursue the military as a career and hope to receive medical benefits when they retire.

This is probably the initial change in providing health care to our military population. Expect these changes to become effective in all areas of the country since Tricare contract disputes have now been resolved. Also expect more morphing into single payer government health insurance for Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare. (Read more…)