As word was breaking late Thursday about the Pentagon’s massive cost-saving proposal that would raise the rates military retirees pay for health coverage, those gathered in local Veterans of Foreign Wars posts were nervous about the plan.
Details were scant about what the increase could mean to mean to local veterans, as information about the size of the proposed increases were not available at deadline. The recommendation -- part of the Department of Defense’s plan to save $7 billion over five years -- would have to go before Congress.
That the hikes were even being discussed disturbed Lamar Queen, quartermaster of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3373 in Pascagoula. Queen retired from the Air Force after 21 years, during which he served in Vietnam. Queen said he was a “retention” officer, who tries to persuade airmen to stay in the military. Queen said part of the pitch he was told to make was staying in for more than 20 years meant health “coverage for life” paid for by the government.
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