Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just read the Army Times today, about how they are upping the payments for retirees promised free health care for life, in part because people like Dr. Gail R. Wilensky think they need to
make the military health plan more acceptable to the general public. She acknowledged that some of the fees, like the $10 a month proposed for older retirees in the Tricare for Life program, are not designed to cover any specific expense and would barely make a dent in the bottom line. “Having health care appear to be free is a bad signal,” she said.
Not like those retirees have sacrificed for it or anything, right? Speaking of great free medical care, there's a tipoff going around the internet (I got it from Madtom at This Fucking War) that a Marine who served in Iraq and died from having his melanoma dismissed by a medical doctor as a harmless wart. I can't independently verify it, but apparently CBS evening news will be broadcasting about his death from Stage 4 melanoma today, Thursday, at 6:30 EDT. Also about the fact that in cases like that, the family has no recourse: can't sue the military after all.

I am continually amazed that people think free healthcare is the way to go, when I see how lousy it is for the military. For those of you not aware, the best doctors don't tend to take Tricare, because Tricare, the military medical insurance, only reimburses doctors for what they think the procedures are worth. Normally this isn't a problem for doctors, who just charge the patient the rest, but doctors are prohibited from doing that for military members. So they end up losing a lot of money, which means the top-of-the-line docs don't want to work on us for huge paycuts. We end up getting pretty incompetent doctors overall.

Also, in what I'm sure will be no surprise to anyone, it is crappy bureaucracy and fear of soldiers and marines with weapons that's behind our guys getting treated like shit at Oakland. Because really, if soldiers and marines had weapons, what they would most like to do with them is let loose on an airport terminal. Guns automatically mean danger, right? It must be a miracle that these dangerous people survived their own plane flight without shooting each other! I swear, f-ing civilians. Also, I'm greatly amused that it's communication problems with the Department of Homeland Security, given that the sole reason the DHS was created was to stop communication problems between government agencies.

Also, apparently Marine Gunnery Sgt. Benny Fontenot at the Haditha Dam is rocking the casbah when it comes to food. Anyone feel like checking this out for me? You can call it research, even! It's true, though, you always have your favorites . I remember one sergeant who had his chowhall do ethnic days, one day a month, it would be food from a different culture. Nobody knew what it would be, but it was always awesome. Of course, it's true that you can only really do that kind of thing at small places, but still.

Also, from Madtom, it's good to know the U.S. Airforce always keeps its eyes on the real enemies: the U.S. Army and Navy.

I'm way too pissed to write about how the Army is apparently telling the VA not to help soldiers with their paperwork at Fort Drum right now, so I'm going to post about that tomorrow, and instead, post some light stuff to help you (and I) get rid of rage.

Madtom, who rocks the casbah, posted this video:

It's good, but I still love the classics, because they prove what I've suspected for years: that the Brits are fucking insane .


LT Nixon said...

That's a great Brit video. I've seen it around on the NIPR, haha. The whole airport security is a joke with the military. Why the hell would they suspect military members of being terrorists? Or worried about military members with weapons? It's just the politically correct culture of our government services gone amok. There's supposedly a blog at (I have not checked it out) where you can voice your complaints, I'm gonna drop them a line manana.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

You should make it slightly more clear in there Sgt, the TRICARE Fees are going up. Essentially, you get the same shitty service, but you get to pay more for it.

That is a bit too simplified, but essentially what is happenening is that instead of raising the costs commensurate with what the military retired pay raises are, the Retirees collectively would be responsible for 11 percent of all costs, and with inflation for medical skyrocketing, it means you get F'd. However, it will be a sliding fee scale based on rank at retirement.

Still sucks.

Army Sergeant said...

Yeah, no kidding, LT Nixon. Plus, if military members were somehow terrorists in their minds, wouldn't they have done something to disrupt the, I don't know, oh, military plane? It's an inflation of their own importance AND craziness.

TSO: Fixed that a bit, hopefully it's a little clearer. It's good that they're making it a sliding scale, but it still does suck-and especially that it's more a political decision than anything else. That some civilians who haven't served are somehow resentful of those who are. Plus, I'm big on honoring promises.


Oakland's worried about Troops, I remember going to Oakland for MEP's way back in the day and be worried about being shot, and it wasn't by troops. Priorities huH? I can't wait for my wife to finish up with her degree and get a job that actually offers decent health benefits because overall I've paid Tri-Care so much f--n money at this point I often wonder what it is they actually offer me asides the inability to cover a Physical from a non Army hospital for my kids so they can go to school, oh and the nice 3 to 4 hour waits in the emergency room only to get a little baggy of Motrin and a call me in a week and when you do your on hold for another 4-5 hours. Hooah!

ToySoldier said...

I agree whole heartedly with using TriCare as an argument against socialized medicine. I can't count how many times I've been screwed by medical care during my short time in the Army; but you slap "free" on something and propagate the myth that it's actually "free" and everyone's game.

Too bad we're screwed for better health care.

As for airport security, I was home on leave and had my uniform + cib in my carry on (I only had the 1 bag as I was traveling for a day), I got pulled aside and asked why I had a badge that had "points" on it. Yay for good ol' Yakima Airport.