News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement opposing fee increases proposed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to medical care for military retirees. The fee hikes, which would affect TRICARE benefits for military retirees under the age of 65, could significantly increase “out-of-pocket” health care costs for those who have earned these benefits.

“Targeting the health benefits of those who have served and sacrificed for our nation is the wrong approach to trimming the defense budget. Affordable health care is an essential part of the promise we make to those who sign up to serve and one we have to keep in good times and in bad. Especially now, as many working age retirees struggle to find work, these benefits should be closely guarded.

“While I commend Secretary Gates for stepping up to the plate to cut Defense spending, I strongly believe that balancing the budget on the backs of military retirees is misguided. I have fought these fee increases under President Bush and will continue to do so in the current Administration. As more details about the 2012 budget proposal emerge, I will continue to work with the Department of Defense to ensure that our service members hard won benefits are protected.”