Next time you hear chatter about proposed cuts to military spending, consider yourself part of the conversation. Healthcare will soon account for ten percent of Defense Department expenditures, a policy think tank estimates.
As it is, the DoD will spend nearly $53 billion on healthcare next year, a three-fold increase since 2001, CNN Money reports. TriCare, the program that provides coverage for military dependents and retirees, accounts for a sizable chunk of the ballooning costs.
To put it plainly, healthcare costs "are eating the Department of Defense alive," the Center for American Progress quotes Defense Secretary Robert Gates in its Feb. 28 report.
"While the Defense Department must continue to provide top quality care to our men and women in uniform--and their dependents, and our military retirees--the Pentagon's healthcare system simply cannot afford to continue on its current trajectory without undermining military readiness and increasing our already debilitating deficit," the group concludes. Its authors include such military experts as Lawrence Korb, who served as an assistant Defense Secretary during the Reagan Administration.
The report urges increases in some TriCare fees, many of which remained stagnant since the mid-1990s. However, Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that such proposals made in the past have been met with fierce opposition by Congress and veterans organizations.
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