Fox & Friends: Military Forced to Pay More for Healthcare

February 29, 2012

BRIAN KILMEADE: They risk their lives for this country. Now those men and women who serve in the U.S. military will be forced to pay more for their health care coverage under new proposals from President Obama. Enrollment fees for military families will shoot up anywhere from 3 percent to 78 percent next year. Then five years after that, it will increase another 94 percent and top out at 345 percent. Joining us right now with more analysis of this, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. Peter, where are these cuts coming from?

PETER JOHNSON JR: Some mornings I wake up and I say values in this country are completely lost. And then other mornings I'm thinking maybe we're doing Dr. Keith Ablow's segment, normal or not. This is abnormal. What we’re doing is we're saying to our retirees we made a moral compact with you, we made a bargain with you, your life and our faithfulness to your service for your entire life. So now we're saying ok, your health benefits may go up 345 percent over the next five years. Active military, you're going to pay more on co-pays, you're going to pay more for brand drugs, you're going to pay more at retail outlets, you're going to pay more. And so we've devalued military service in this country, and we're trying to balance a deficit on the backs of the people who we call to protect us.

KILMEADE: Take a look at the co-pays now if you're in the military or a family member who somebody is serving overseas. 2012, you have a co-pay of $12. In 2013, it will be $26 and topping out in 2017, for now, at $34.

JOHNSON: So this is first ever enrollment fees. There haven't been enrollment fees for these retirees in the past. So if you're paying, for example, if you're a colonel, and you're paying $500, you're going to be paying $2,000. There's also means testing. They're saying, okay, those who are getting less in retirement will pay less; those who are getting more in retirement will pay more. So now we've adopted means testing for military retirees.

KILMEADE: About time, Peter, so many of those millionaire corporals are out there trying to hide.

JOHNSON: It's really quite frightening. And so the VFW has spoken and some of the military family associations have spoken up and some of the Republican leadership have spoken up. But this looks like it's going to be going through at that point.

KILMEADE: What do you say to people who say we only have so much money for the military, we can't be spending it all on health care?

JOHNSON: It's an excellent question and it's a matter, again, of values and of a moral compact and an agreement that we make implicitly with those we call upon to protect us. And so you say, well, yes, there need to be cuts across the board. But do we value military service? Do we want to retain those people? Do we want a professional army, navy, air force, national guard. In terms of national guard, a lot of the families are going to have to buy these medicines, active duty, they can't buy it from a military base because they're not near a military base. Their fathers and mothers are overseas. They're going to have to pay full price retail at a local pharmacy. I don't think it's fair. I think it's wrong.

KILMEADE: If there's enough outrage, the administration has been known to change and hopefully they'll--

JOHNSON: Military families have to speak up and Americans have to speak up this is wrong.

KILMEADE: All right, Peter, hopefully we have a way to do that. Thanks so much.

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