Webb Statement on TRICARE and Health Care Reform

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    The following statement is from Jim Webb’s office. According to this article, the main purpose of Webb’s legislation is to “set the record straight,” because “here has been too much confusion about the effect of health care changes on Tricare.” In other words, Webb’s legislation will make doubly sure that Tricare is in good shape, even though there’s no indication that it isn’t.  

    Today, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced a bill that would explicitly state in law that TRICARE and Department of Defense (DOD) nonappropriated fund (NAF) health plans meet the minimum essential coverage for individual health insurance required by the health care reform bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives. While beneficiaries of these programs will already meet the minimum requirements for individual health insurance and will not be required to purchase additional coverage, the TRICARE Affirmation Act would provide clarification by changing the tax code to state it in law.

    A companion bill, introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), was approved by the House of Representatives Saturday by a vote of 403 to 0.

    “There has been a great deal of confusion over the past year surrounding the future of TRICARE and other military health care programs,” said Senator Webb, who serves as chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. “This bill sets the record straight, and I applaud Congressman Skelton for his efforts to see to the needs of our men and women in uniform and other beneficiaries. Supporting this bill will reassure our servicemembers that the coverage provided by TRICARE will be treated as minimal essential coverage under the health care reform bill when it is signed into law by the president.”

    Continued Webb: “As one who grew up in the military, served as a Marine in Vietnam and spent five years in the Pentagon, I know the special obligation we have to provide our military service members, their families, and our veterans with the very finest health care coverage available.”

    TRICARE, TRICARE for Life, and the DOD nonappropriated fund (NAF) provide health coverage to members of the military and their families, military retirees and their families, and employees of U.S. military post/base exchanges and other nonappropriated fund activities. Beneficiaries of TRICARE for Life and military veterans’ health care programs also satisfy requirements for individual health insurance under the health care reform bill and will not be required to purchase additional coverage.

    For a copy of Senator Webb’s bill, visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2875…