TriCare: U.S. Military’s Successful Socialist Healthcare Program

My father commissioned as a U.S. Army officer the same month I was born, so I am literally a cradle (possibly to grave?) recipient of socialized healthcare, education, job placement, housing and food. I’m shocked that many conservatives, with their demonization of socialism and their allegiance to the military, don’t seem to connect the two.But then again, for nearly twenty years, I had no clue that other people didn’t live like me, or that my family enjoyed a protected status.

I’ve been married to someone who works for the military for a year, and I’ve been shocked at how many military personnel (and I’m talking officers, not even enlisted, who enjoy fewer privileges) will mention how grateful they are to be getting their obscure health problem treated for free by TriCare, then decry “Obamacare” in the same breath. Seriously, people? You’re not drawing any parallels, here?

When I was 17, I briefly dated a young enlisted man who offended me when he made a comment about how my parents couldn’t afford to have so many children (ten, to be exact, but that’s a whole “˜nother post) if they weren’t in the military. I initially took what he said as an insult against my parents or something, but it got the ol’ cognitive wheels turning. I had another awakening when I graduated college and was financially self-sufficient for the first time. I found a decent-paying job and was able to afford my own (teeny-tiny) apartment and a cell phone, so I was living large. Then I turned 21 and my TriCare coverage ran out. My parents urged me to get disaster coverage, but I shrugged it off.

It probably looks like I’m setting this post up to reveal that I was hit by a bus and am now in deep medical debt. Thankfully, nothing of that magnitude happened during the eight-month period I was without coverage. However, I had some nasty colds and a lingering UTI, didn’t go to the dentist, experienced a bunch of unpleasant side effects from hormonal birth control, and forwent seeing a counselor about depression. Obviously, I lived, and most of those issues resolved themselves.

Despite the minor nature of my ailments, I will never forget how trapped and desperate I felt during those eight months. Especially in regards to the depression, I felt entirely devoid of hope. Now I thank my lucky stars that I have TriCare, and I honestly, truly cannot understand why other people in my position (read: military personnel and spouses accepting “government handouts”) oppose the universal healthcare plan. There is the much-trumpeted issue of cost, but the non-partisan Congressional Budge Office determined universal healthcare will actually reduce the deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years.

Maybe I’m just a big, bleeding-heart socialist, but, above and beyond the financial benefits, I support universal healthcare because I think it’s the right thing for a developed nation to do. And, for a portion of the population, American is already doing it.

3 thoughts on “TriCare: U.S. Military’s Successful Socialist Healthcare Program”

  1. I think you’re forgetting that Tricare is not free, and we understand the benefits and know that it is socialized medicine. I am a military spouse and I find it insulting that you don’t point out that our Service men and women work much harder and longer hours than any job in the private sector. Tricare is considered as part of our pay, in the form of a benefit. I think you should do your research before you post in the future. Tricare definitely has its drawbacks, while it provides access it does have it’s limits. Obamacare will not work like Tricare either, because while in the military everyone pays into it whether you like it or not, not everyone will pay into Obamacare. Lastly, enlisted and officer alike enjoy the same medical benefits. You failed to mention that the portion of the population that enjoys this type healthcare are our Service men and women who serve this nation in order to enjoy these benefits.

    1. I am also a military spouse and have worked as a military contractor. I am well aware that Tricare is considered a “bonus” part of being in the military. While I certainly agree that the military demands unique sacrifices, I also believe there are many people in the private sector who work just as hard as people in the military, albeit in different roles. No teacher, no police officer, no other public servant is eligible for a program as comprehensive as Tricare. Also, I am not sure what version of Tricare you are eligible for, but my husband and I are on Tricare Prime, which means that we pay next to nothing in premiums. In fact, I have not had to pay one dime for a single doctor’s appointment or prescription, for a year. I challenge you to find me any private insurance company that would provide that coverage, not just for the insured worker but for his/her family AND children.

      Also, under Obama’s healthcare plan, everyone would be paying into the system as they would be required to purchase some form of insurance by 2014 or pay a ~$695.00 fine (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20000846-503544.html). And I never said the government should provide anything as extensive as Tricare for the whole nation, just pointed out that Tricare is socialized, very generous, and has, so far, been sustainable.

      I can tell that we are going to have to agree to disagree, but I would add that I believe everyone, not just men and women who are in the military, deserves a decent standard of living. You might be interested to learn that thousands of people who die every year because they can’t afford insurance. Here’s a link: http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/6-health-care-restrictions-cost-thousands-of-lives-in-us/ and a quote: “The American Journal of Public Health published findings demonstrating that being uninsured raises an individual’s odds of dying by 40 percent.”

      As someone affiliated with the armed forces, I don’t want to just toss my hair and say, “Well, I deserve it more than all the ‘normal’ people do.” Because I don’t.

  2. One of my old coworkers’s dad is in the military. He came to see her one day and we got to talking about some of the doctor’s appointments she had and how awesome TriCare is. He told her not to take it for granted and that people literally kill for TriCare.

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