June 1, 2010  

Costly care

To Defense Secretary Robert Gates for saying publicly that the Pentagon is being eaten alive by ballooning health care costs, which have soared from $19 billion a decade ago to $50 billion today. Premiums have not risen in that time, however. This is an unrealistic and unsustainable situation that will lead to a Pentagon-wide funding crisis if left unaddressed. But Gates should be careful not to make scapegoats of working-age military retirees who opt for Tricare. The Pentagon’s health insurance system is arguably the best and most generous plan enjoyed by any American. It is a key recruiting and retention tool. Overhauling the system will be difficult and require deft handling. But Gates is right to highlight the problem and get the process rolling.