Obama to Soldiers: Pay Up

Threatens to veto bill unless it hikes health care fees for service members


The Obama administration on Friday threatened to veto a defense appropriations bill in part because it does not include higher health care fees for members of the military.

“The Administration is disappointed that the Congress did not incorporate the requested TRICARE fee initiatives into either the appropriation or authorization legislation,” the White House wrote in an official policy statement expressing opposition to the bill, which the House approved in May.

President Obama’s most recent budget proposal includes billions of dollars in higher fees for members of TRICARE, the military health care system, and is part of the administration’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget.

Some fear the administration’s proposal is an effort to increase enrollment in the state-run insurance exchanges mandated under the president’s controversial health care law.

The administration urged the House to “reconsider” the fee increase, arguing they are “essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs.”

The House bill has significant bipartisan support, and easily passed by a margin of 299 to 120.