Guthertz Appeals to Panetta to Reverse Proposed Cuts in Military Retiree Health Benefits

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Guam – Buildup Committee Chair Senator Judi Guthertz is raising concerned about proposes cuts in the Defense Department’s health care benefits for military retirees.

The cuts will translate into higher co-pays and deductibles for retirees and in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Senator Guthertz  points out that retirees living in Guam have “long suffered”  from the “‘tyranny of distance'” when compared to the health services available to their fellow retirees in Hawaii or the mainland.

READ Senator Guthertz’s letter to DoD Secretary Panetta HERE

The Senator argues that cutting benefits for retirees “would “break faith” with the retirees and threaten the continued success of the volunteer military” and she calls on Panetta to delete the retiree health care cuts from his proposed budget.

READ Senator Guthertz’s release in FULL below:

January 31, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SENATOR GUTHERTZ: GUAM MILITARY RETIREES ARE ALREADY BEING SHORTCHANGED ON PROMISED MEDICAL CARE; DEFENSE SECRETARY PANETTA URGED TO RECONSIDER CUTS TO SUCH BENEFITS IN BUDGET PROPOSAL

As deficit-cutting fever continues in Washington, D.C., Senator Judi Guthertz thinks Defense Department budget cutting aimed at military retiree health
benefits is over the top.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense, Senator Guthertz, Chairman of the Guam Committee on the Military Buildup and Homeland Security says the cost cutting relies in part on raising health care fees, co-pays and deductibles for retirees.

Senator Guthertz said military retirees living in Guam have long suffered the “tyranny of distance” from health care provided to such veterans elsewhere in the U.S. mainland or Hawaii.

“Our navy hospital lacks several services and capabilities for retirees. If a veteran has a sudden neurological or cardio incident, his prognosis is
questionable due to these shortcomings,” Senator Guthertz wrote to Secretary Panetta.

”Sir, I definitely cannot debate your decisions on operational and investment issues such as the Global Hawk vs. the U-2 programs, but I do feel qualified to speak up loudly and clearly for our military retirees.”

Senator Guthertz said lessened benefits would “break faith” with the retirees and threaten the continued success of the volunteer military.

“Hopefully, our Congress will hold the line on health benefits for our military retirees. You should delete that recommendation from your budget reduction plan,” Guthertz concluded.