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Seeking a Tricare Fix

January 16, 2007—Not surprisingly, data in a recent Government Accountability Office report shows that the beneficiary pool for military health care comprises more military retirees (and dependents) than active duty personnel (and dependents). This latest health care report focuses on whether those retirees who have chosen not to enroll in DOD’s managed care plan (Tricare Prime) and instead rely on the fee-for-service option (Standard) or preferred-provider-organization option (Extra) receive satisfactory access to care—according to survey data, they do. Of interest, too, is GAO’s note that more beneficiaries over the past few years have received care through civilian providers. From Fiscal 2000 to 2005, civilian providers delivered about 75 percent of inpatient care, up from 50 percent; outpatient care climbed from 39 percent to roughly 65 percent. No wonder DOD health care costs are rising, but lawmakers last year refused to bite on the Pentagon’s proposed remedy—raising Tricare fees for retirees. The Congressionally chartered Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care conducted its first public meeting today.