January, 2022 – The following is a review of MOAA’s legislative priorities for the coming Congressional session. MOAA is already working to inform and influence the incoming administration and the new Congress regarding critical issues affecting the America’s military. These initiatives were identified in a previous MOAA website and electronic newsletter by MOAA staffer Dan Merry.
MOAA Latest Legislative Efforts are three major issues are importance for a well-balanced military:
- The Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act. This legislation would create comprehensive toxic exposure reform to expand health care, improve the presumptive process, and ensure veteran input in the process about the critical conditions affecting the health and well-being of servicemembers, veterans, families, survivors, and caregivers as a result of exposures while in service. This encompasses Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Reform to resolve the long-term effects of Agent Orange on our Vietnam veterans, as well as the service connected illnesses from the Gulf War, and Iraq and Afghanistan Wars from Burn Pit Exposures.
- TRICARE Young Adult Coverage Parity for military families with children transitioning to adulthood that lack the same health care protections as civilian families who have commercial plans.
- Basic Needs Allowance to resolve food insecurity among junior service-members and their families. This is not a new concern, but like many ongoing problems, it’s been made worse by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other MOAA Legislative Issues that continue to have MOAA’s focus and attention, are identified below. They are broad in nature and subject to refinement and interpretation depending on the latest legislation, as well as activities on the Hill or within the administration and its departments. Visit the MOAA Advocacy news page for the latest on all these subjects and others.
- Protect the value of the military health care benefit (potential elimination of 18,000 medical billets and closure of 22 medical facilities).
- Protect the military health system’s pharmacy benefit, and achieve flexibility in TRICARE pharmacy copays.
- Address barriers to accessing care within the military health system, including TRICARE coverage gaps and mental health care access challenges.
- Protect family support programs, and ensure military-provided services (housing, PCS, child care) are affordable, readily available, and meet quality standards.
- Sustain pay raises for the troops and COLA raises for retirees.
- Ensure Coast Guard members are paid during a government shutdown.
- Sustain Veterans Health Administration (VHA) foundational missions and services.
- Achieve equity of benefits, protections, and administrative support for Guard and Reserve members consistent with their active-duty counterparts and this is important regarding hazardous duty or flight pay.
- Reform the presumptive process to support veterans claiming service-connected disabilities for toxic exposures.
- Achieve concurrent receipt of service-earned retirement pay and VA disability pay.
- Protect Arlington National Cemetery as an option for those currently eligible to receive full military honors through expansion of our national cemetery.
- Improve survivor benefits.
Again, please take a few moments to visit the MOAA web site and link to ADVOCACY section scroll down to Legislative Action Center. This identifies all of the legislative issues and bills that MOAA supports which re-quire your active involvement to take action. Remember to contact your Congressional representatives (Senate and House) to express your concerns. Please remember that there are also many state legislative issues that require your support as well.
It is sad to note that no meaningful Congressional legislation has taken place since January 2021. MOAA National continues to actively monitor the legislative efforts of Congress and keep all members appraised of on-going actions of major concern.
Go to the MOAA website and start your actions regarding this and other issues.