Several new initiatives to spur military health care beneficiaries to seek out preventive health measures have surfaced in the House Armed Services Committees markup of the Fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill. Among them is a demonstration project for self-reported health risk assessments for Tricare Prime beneficiaries, many of whom are retirees that have been the target of the proposed Tricare fee hikes (see above). Another initiative would waive co-payment fees for all Tricare beneficiaries that seek preventive health services. A third would pay military members and their family members to seek preventive services. The intent, according to the committee’s May 15markup summary, is “to reduce the need for care required … rather than reducing the amount of care available or the size of the beneficiary population.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.