Here’s a great little informative piece by the Washington Post from 2011. It’s great background info on understanding the defense budget.
I’m sharing this link because I’m tired of hearing military people who don’t support Obama say, “Obama’s done nothing for the military. He’s cut funding argh argh argh!”
The five main points the piece makes:
- our defense spending isn’t always determined by our current threats because lots of planning and political issues are involved
- a larger defense budget doesn’t always make us safer
- both Republicans and Democrats support defense investment
- we need to reconsider current military pay and benefits to address our national economic situation
- other budget cuts, aside from the ones recommended by Gates, should be considered because they would help reduce our national deficit while still maintaining our level of defense effectiveness
In addition to the myths discussed in the link above, here are some other facts to consider:
- Defense budget cuts came at the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense - at that time, Robert Gates, who served under both Bush and Obama.
- Congress determines the defense budget, not the executive branch (i.e., the Pres).
- The defense budget isn’t immune to wasteful government spending (ahem, F-35 = $1.45 trillion?!?!). So if we are to get serious about our deficit, then discussions on how to reduce defense spending is vital.
- The health benefits for military members and their family are very generous, including small annual premium (less than $300), no copays for doctor visits or prescriptions, no annual or lifetime limits.
- The military can be run more efficiently and reduce its overall costs (although there is underfunding in many other areas, like Marine Corps enlisted barracks)
- Our military fighting style is different now than it was four decades ago, so the way we invest in defense spending has to also change and adapt. (e.g., we don’t have rush 300,000+ troops to storm a beach anymore, but instead use more special forces and drone attacks)
- The Obama administration has increased funding and advocacy efforts on behalf of veterans and military families, despite some defense budget cuts.
On that health thing. I’m also tired of Tricare beneficiaries complain about government-run healthcare. Guess what, the issues you can run into with Tricare - long waits, misdiagnoses, few available appointments, need to get referrals, etc. - you run into with all other insurance plans and with private/non-government doctors. Really, the only way to completely avoid administrative insurance issues is to have a butt ton of money and pay for everything out of pocket. And, there’s really no way to avoid getting shitty healthcare every once in a while because doctors are human and they can make mistakes.
So, as a Tricare/government-run healthcare beneficiary, I can say I’m highly satisfied.
- I always have insurance.
- I have minimal out of pocket healthcare costs: example 1: one time I went to the ER due to some crazy allergic reaction and I paid zero dollars out-of-pocket because Tricare covered it all; example 2: paying zero dollars for my birth control for all the years I’ve been married and have been with Tricare.
- I have no lifetime limit, so I know if I have cancer, I won’t be dropped from my insurance. I get free vaccinations.
- I can choose to go outside of the default insurance plan (Tricare Prime) to a Point-of-Service option (Tricare Standard) and have more flexibility with my provider choices and still pay pretty minimally out-of-pocket comparatively.
- I can get most of my care all under the same roof.
- At the particular base where I get care now, my wait time for prescriptions is under 10 minutes and I pay $0.
Have I run into problems with my healthcare under Tricare? Yes. But I don’t know if those things would have been entirely avoided had I had private insurance. And I know it sure as hell would have cost me a load of more money to have health coverage under private insurance the past few years.
So let’s look at the bigger picture and understand the facts and the nuances before we get into political attacks and as we make our political determinations