Friday, May 28, 2010


A couple of days ago I read a story from the Washington Post "Popular benefit of health-care law excludes military families" by David Hilzenwrath. That link is:

In all the anxiety surrounding the debate about Health Care Reform military families were concerned that they'd lose the good plan they already have, TRICARE. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requested Congress exclude military families and TRICARE from the overhaul.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

It turns out that "Obamacare," as the Republicans are want to call Health Care Reform, isn't so bad as the Health Insurance/Republican propaganda said it was. Now America's military families are wanting to get some of what the rest of the nation's families got.

Remember the problem that occurred in the coverage of American young adults. When they were 18 and not in school their health care was being canceled by the insurance industry. I remember on particularly painful incident involving former Kansas City Royal, Fred Patek. Patek's daughter, Kimberly. was no longer on the family's plan and her coverage had not yet begun. She was paralyzed in an automobile accident. The bills were massive. Several fundraisers were held to assist in paying those fees.

Under Health Care Reform that can't happen anymore. American families are seeing the benefit of their college age kids not being put at risk by the insurance industry. Military families rightly want the same.

That takes us back to H.R. 5136, the Defense Appropriation Bill. Specifically Section 708 titled "EXTENSION OF DEPENDENT COVERAGE UNDER TRICARE." This will cover the older military "brats" until they reach age 26 unless they can enroll in an eligible employer-sponsored plan.

For those who want to read chapter and verse of the TRICARE expansion, link up at or link to and search using the keyword TRICARE or the bill number H.R. 5136.
Representative Martin Heinrich
The Washington Post reports that the TRICARE expansion amendment to this bill was proposed by New Mexico's Democratic Representative Martin Heinrich. Heinrich is from Albuquerque and is a freshman in the Congress.

H.R. 5136 was before the House last night in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, to make amendments.  If you want to see our elected leaders acting like adults with true bipartisan effort, you should see them pass one of Ike Skelton's bills.  H.R. 5136 remains as unfinished business, last night was all about making amendments.

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