Summary of 2020 Legislation 

 It has been a year like no other, but Congress has been busy wrapping up the year championing a record number of bills representing hundreds of provisions, to provide economic and health care relief for veterans and their families.



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The mission of the Emerald Empire Chapter of MOAA is to advocate for our military community and connect it to the nation we serve.

Army

Emerald Empire Chapter

Military Officers Association of America

(MOAA)

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WIDOW'S TAX REPEAL - Success!

Military widows hugged and shared thumbs-up gestures as they embraced each other, celebrating a surreal moment nearly two decades in the making. 

Just hours after the Senate approved the FY 20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Dec. 17, military widows gathered in Washington, D.C., to mark the expected repeal of the "widows tax" with federal lawmakers and representatives of veterans service organizations. 

Efforts to repeal the Survivor Benefit Plan-Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset, commonly called the widows tax, had been rejected at various points in the legislative process at least a dozen times, so widows were used to disappointing news. MOAA has been engaged with this offset since the inception of the Survivor Benefit Plan in 1972 – picking up support along the way and making incremental gains while Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) continued to support legislation for total repeal since his arrival in Congress in 2001. 


Repealing the offset has been a top priority for MOAA for several years. More than 150 members of the association pushed for passage of the repeal during its annual Storming the Hill event, when members meet with federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss advocacy missions. After passing the House, the Bill is now on the way to the President's desk to be signed.


MILITARY MEDICAL FORCES FORCED REDUCTION   

As it stands now the DD 2020 budget calls for a [possible 20% cut in the military medical force, that comes to about 18,000 positions. According to the article "Stay Alert: Military Medicine is in Danger" (MOAA Magazine, June 2019). This was done with no analysis of medical readiness or impact of it.These changes can and will cause consequences to active duty and retired veterans as well. Many TRI-CARE Prime enrollees are already being pushed to civilian networks to receive care.
MOAA is looking for answers to the following:

  • Can military departments still support operational plans, medical requirements, aid, disaster relief, and missions, and do them simultaneously?
  •  How will reductions effect recruitment and retention of military medical professionals? If we can't get them, we can't keep them
  •  What will be the effect on the civilian medical communities? With closures and downsizing of military health centers, what will the impact on already busy civilian medical communities.

Proceeding without full analysis could leave the military community as well as the retired and veterans needing medical care concern in their ability to find timely medical care.
This is by no means cut in stone, just keep a watchful eye, and a readiness to contact our federal legislatures to voice concerns.