ARLINGTON, Va., July 9 The Air Force Association today urged the U.S. Senate to act immediately to prevent decreased payments to Medicare and TRICARE providers.
The U.S. Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote today to end debate on an effort to prevent Medicare and TRICARE cuts to physician reimbursements. The new rates that cut reimbursements by 10.6 percent already went into effect on July 1, 2008. AFA, along with the Military Coalition and many groups representing the larger Medicare population, is concerned the reductions will adversely affect active-duty service personnel, military retirees and their families, who depend on these medical programs. AFA has urged legislation that would correct the change.
"This is an important issue for many of our AFA members," said Bob Largent, Chairman of the Board for AFA. "Our veterans should not be facing either higher health costs or reduced services, particularly when food and fuel costs are also rising."
"Many veterans depend directly on these medical programs, and it seems clear that these additional costs will be passed on to them," said Mike Dunn, President of AFA. "This is a significant concern, and a severe problem for those on fixed incomes."
AFA signed a July 2, 2008, letter to senators that urged corrective legislation. Without that action the rate change will impact approximately 2 million TRICARE Standard and 65,000 TRICARE Reserve Select users, particularly in many rural areas or areas not serviced by a military hospital.
AFA strongly supports the effort to end debate and proceed to a final vote on the issue. The procedural vote to end debate narrowly failed once before, just short of the necessary 60 votes. A majority of senators support the effort.
SOURCE Air Force Association