FORMER CNN ANCHOR PIERS MONTGOMERY USED TO WORSHIP FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O. APPARENTLY NO LONGER. MONTGOMERY WROTE A BLISTERING COLUMN:
President Obama this week committed professional suicide. He managed to single-handedly alienate 200,000 employees in the American intelligence agencies by going on 60 Minutes and ruthlessly chucking them all under a bus over the rise of terror group ISIS. A more shameless, reprehensible display of buck-passing it would be hard to find from a sitting President. The truth is that Obama is the one who underestimated ISIS, plunging his head ostrich-like into the sand and hoping they would go away without having to do anything to actually make them go away. Far from making America stronger, Obama has made the world’s greatest military power look weak. So weak that these Jihadist thugs think they can behead American citizens with impunity in glossy snuff movies. It’s time he got off the damn golf course, got up to speed with his intelligence briefings and focused on wiping out ISIS.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY O LAMENTED, "IF I'VE LOST PIER, I'VE LOST MOST OF THE DUTCH AMISH COUNTRY AS WELL!"
I am hearing the same story over and over from veterans and their spouses with children.
TRICARE is supposed to be coverage for service members and for veterans -- there's TRICARE for retired, etc. Think of it as Blue Cross Blue Shield if you need to simplify it.
John and Joan are married and have a daughter named Jill.
John is not oversees, he's a service member but he gets stationed here and there. They do a seven month stint in Colorado. Five months in, Jill is vomiting and can't stop. She's taken to the emergency room of the local hospital where they stabilize her. Jill is taken to a doctor's office or clinic the next day and Dr. Michelle Wong says Jill needs to see a specialist, Dr. Andre Kumar.
I hope everyone's following example, it's pretty straight forward.
En route to Dr. Kumar's office, or after being seen, John and Joan are informed that the visit isn't 'authorized' so TRICARE won't be covering it.
I've heard this basic story over and over in the last four weeks when speaking to veterans groups.
TRICARE wants a PCP -- a primary care physician. That would be your family doctor, the doctor you or your children see when you're sick.
John and Joan are not living in X and never moving. The military wants them at this base for a limited time and then at that base. And if there's no reason to change the PCP -- if the child isn't sick or can be treated in a clinic, for example -- the parents don't change the PCP. Sometimes TRICARE does.
So when their child does get sick and they seek care, they're suddenly faced with costs and expenses they shouldn't have to deal with. But TRICARE says their sick child can't see that specialist -- even if a doctor has made the referral -- because they didn't see their PCP.
I've tried to keep the above simple (there's also an issue of TRICARE assigning PCP's to relocated families).
TRICARE could keep things real simple by allowing service members and their families to see a specialist if they are referred by another doctor -- it should not have to be a PCP.
It is ridiculous.
Joan and John and Jill are not moving because they made the decision, they're moving because the US government is changing where they are stationed. TRICARE needs to recognize that.
No service member should have to worry about the costs of caring for their children -- that's especially true when your child is in dire need of a specialist.
I've tried to keep the above simple. I've used PCP because that's what most people are familiar with -- most with insurance -- but, for example, in TRICARE, the PCP is called the PCM.
Calling. The other big issue.
As someone who has sat in one hearing after another where members of Congress like Patty Murray, Senator Richard Burr, Senator Bernie Sanders, US House Rep Jeff Miller and US House Rep Mike Michaud have repeatedly asked the VA if they need more money for employees or training or this or that and heard the VA say no?
Will someone ask the VA, someone in Congress, how they feel about their call center because veterans with health issues -- such as the example above -- are getting real tired of the wait.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"