There has been a feeling of betrayal in Troops and Veterans over the Obama Administration plan to charge Military Retirees for Health Care. General Dempsey says he can afford it, though in other speeches he has told Army leaders that they should look out for their Troops and not just themselves. General Dempsey can afford to pay a few thousand back to the government, because his retirement check will be more than his Active Duty check, about 20x more than he would pay back above his Active Duty check more.
I took a look at an average National Guard/Reserve Soldier's retirement instead. I made him up, so he's neither extraordinary, nor lazy. He joined the Guard when he was 18, and it was 1992. He served his 1 weekend a month and his two weeks a year, but he didn't chase extra Active Duty assignments. He served a year each in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan, when his unit was mobilized. Over 20 years, he was promoted to Sergeant First Class, an E7. In 2012, he'll retire, but he won't get a retirement check until he's 60, in 2034. Based on my calculations, his check will be $644.83 a month when he turns 60, but he'll enroll in Tricare Prime in 2012, because he doesn't want to be fined under ObamaCare.
He'll "break even" in 2051, when he's 77 years old. He'll have paid the government $129,137.21 for the joy of having served, before he gets there, if he gets there.
Under the Obama Plan, he pays more every year through 2017, at a set pace. For the same medications and annual fees, he pays $2525.00 and from 2018 on the fee increases according to the inflation rate of Health Care Costs. Though Health Care Costs will rise rapidly as more people take advantage of a system that costs the same if they never go to the doctor, or if they go daily, I've used a 3% rate of increase, annually to adjust his costs. Health Care costs have been rising a rate above that.
From 2012 until he turns 60, he'll pay the government $68,675.45 for the benefit of retiring from the Military. At 60, he'll get his first monthly check of $644.83 for an annual amount of $7,737.94 and begin to knock back some of the costs of retirement. At 64, he'll pay $4,697.24 for his meds and health insurance and get $7,737.94 in retirement checks. At 65, his insurance costs will go down. Assuming that same 3% rate of increase, his annual fee will now be $302.74/month instead of $1612.86 he paid the year before, but his 4 prescriptions will cost $3,127.08/year.
Our Sergeant First Class, who served in two wars, and for 20 years won't "break even" until 2051,when he is 77 years old. By that time, he will have paid the government $129,137.21 for the benefit of having retired. He will rest easy in his rocking chair, knowing he has paid his debt to society. His knees may ache and his spine may arch, but finally he will get more money for the abuse he took under that body armor than he has paid for having done so. He'll pay $4,458.47 to the government for his health care at 77, but he'll get a monthly check of $644.83 Inflation will have eaten away at the value of that money, but hopefully, he wasn't counting on living off of it. Of course, the cardboard box under the bridge may be afforable at that rate.
Of course, it is far more likely that he won't make it to 77 and chances aren't all that great he'll make it to his first retirement check.
ADDED: Some might say that I should have factored in what this NCO had earned over his career in service to his State and Nation. Using the 2011 payscale, which is far more generous than when he enlisted in 1992 and based on the same criteria as his retirement points, with a fairly routine promotion timeline, I calculate he would have earned about $110,583.90 in drill pay. It would have been significantly less of course, because the 90's saw little in pay raises and the period of 2000-2009 saw healthy increases in pay, above inflation. So, by age 77, he would have paid more than he had earned in regular pay.
If we include his two combat tours, using the 2011 payscale, and one tour as an E5 and another as an E7, he would have earned $198,483.90 gross pay.
No, he wasn't doing it for the money, but neither did he think he would end paying the government for the privilege of serving. At 77, his service in 2 wars for 2 years and 20 years in uniform in his prime, would have netted him $200k after deducting the cost of his health care insurance to the government but before declared income taxes and a LOT of red tape. That works out to an average of $3,404.94 a year, before taxes.
Please, write your Congressmen; your Representative and both Senators, and urge them to vote NO on Obama's plan to raise revenue on the backs of Our Military Retirees.