House Lawmakers Rejects Commissary and Tricare cuts

There will be no changes to the commissary and Tricare for now.

Both the Pentagon’s 2015 budget request and recommendations from a congressionally mandated panel included major overhauls to Tricare and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). House lawmakers, however, chose to ignore those recommendations and instead focus their reform efforts on an overhaul of the military retirement system in their version of the annual defense spending bill.

The Pentagon had proposed slashing commissary funding by $1 billion over several years, but the House Armed Service Committee’s version of the legislation is silent on the subject of commissary spending. The committee also dismissed the proposal to combine the commissary and exchange systems.

The legislation also does not address plans to overhaul Tricare. While a Pentagon proposal called for combining Tricare’s various plans into a single program known as “Consolidated Tricare,” the MCRMC proposed dismantling Tricare and pushing users instead into a healthcare marketplace like one currently used by civilian federal employees.

The committee, however, dismissed both of those options, instead opting to leave Tricare intact as it is.

Changes to the commissary and Tricare are not completely off the table, however. The Senate will now get its turn at creating a defense spending bill.

Senate lawmakers will begin work on their version of the legislation in the coming weeks and overhauls could be included there. Differences between the House and Senate legislation will be worked out in a conference later this year.

 

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