Ryan Urges Congress to Do No Harm - Fix Problem Areas of Military Healthcare

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MOAA president, retired Navy Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, testified before the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee today urging Congress to do no harm; preserve what’s working, and fix what’s not working in current military healthcare programs.

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DoD Health Costs are NOT Growing, Let Alone "Out of Control"

The “military heath benefit should be [the] gold standard,” said Ryan. “Those who spend decades subject to being put in harm’s way deserve no less.

The president of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), retired Navy Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, testified before the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee today urging Congress to do no harm; preserve what’s working, and fix what’s not working in current military health care programs.

Representative Joe Heck, subcommittee chairman and a U.S. Army Reserve physician, opened the hearing on military health care reform by stating, “This process is not being driven by budgetary concerns … we’re driven by what will produce the best possible benefit to be able to recruit and retain the best and brightest.” Later in the hearing he emphasized the primary goal of the military healthcare system is to maintain military readiness.

During the hearing, Ryan highlighted areas MOAA considers effective, including combat casualty care, the overall quality of health care once delivered, TRICARE For Life, pharmacy and mail-order pharmacy programs and TRICARE Standard.

Ryan discussed the following list of problem areas in current military health care programs:

  •     TRICARE Prime’s access to appointments and specialty care referral processes,
  •     inconsistent Guard and Reserve TRICARE coverage,
  •     provider capacity management in military treatment facilities,
  •     the inefficiencies of building DoD healthcare delivery around three separate military service programs, and
  •     inadequate case-management of the highest-cost or at-risk health care users.

Ryan emphasized one of the major problems is the disconnect between rhetoric and reality on DoD health care costs. “Every year, defense leaders offer dire budget projections of health costs they assert are spiraling out of control,” Ryan said. “But actual cost history shows those projections have been consistently wrong.” Ryan went on to use DoD’s budget reports over the past five years to show that health care costs have remained flat or declined.

MOAA also provided Congress with several recommendations to improve the military health care system without eliminating TRICARE.

The “military heath benefit should be [the] gold standard,” Ryan said. “Those who spend decades subject to being put in harm’s way deserve no less.”

-End-

About MOAA:
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers. With more than 390,000 members — active duty, former, retired, and National Guard and Reserve officers from all seven uniformed services and their spouses and surviving spouses — it is a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense and represents the interests of military officers and their families at every stage of their careers. For those who are not eligible to join MOAA, Voices for America’s Troops is a nonprofit MOAA affiliate that supports a strong national defense. For more information, visit http://www.moaa.org.

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