2011 January 10 Monday
Military Medical Costs

Soaring for the US military.

Proposals to increase Tricare fees will pit Mr. Gates against those in Congress — and veterans’ groups — who say retired military personnel already have paid up front with service in uniform. Ten years ago, health care cost the Pentagon $19 billion; today, it tops $50 billion; five years from now it is projected to cost $65 billion.

The Veterans Administration spends over double that providing medical to military veterans:

  • 2010 Budget:  $112.8 billion (total including collections) – $55.9 billion in discretionary funding (including collections) and $56.9 billion in mandatory funding
  • Enacted 2009:  $97.7 billion (total including collections)  -- $50.4 billion in discretionary funding (including collections, not including ARRA funds) and $47.3 billion in mandatory funding

To honor America’s veterans and expand the services they receive, the Fiscal Year 2010 budget increases funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $25 billion over the next five years.  The budget includes an 11 percent increase in resources for a discretionary funding level of $55.9 billion.  The budget increases health care funding for veterans, enabling the VA to provide timely, high-quality care to 5.5 million veterans, develop Centers of Excellence, and enhance access to mental health and cognitive care.  It also restores health care eligibility for modest-income veterans, steps up investment in technology for the delivery of services and benefits to veterans, and provides improved benefits for veterans who are medically retired from active duty.  The budget provides for a collaborative pilot program with non-profit organizations to help veterans avoid homelessness, and for the timely implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to Americans who have served the country though military duty.

In fact, the VA's budget alone is bigger than the military budget for any other nation in the world except for China. Combined with the DOD's budget they together spend more on medical care than any other country spends on their military.

The US military should lead the way in automating health care. Use expert systems and robots. Embrace microfluidics to cut testing costs.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 January 10 10:10 PM  Economics Health

superdestroyer said at January 12, 2011 4:00 AM:

The military has had a version of the electronic medical record for over 15 years. The VA went electronic before the DoD. The military started digitizing x-rays in the 1990's ahead of most civilian hospitals.

The problem with the VA is that Congress keeps putting more mandates on it and for the DoD, the military did not shrink as planned and the military sent a large number of providers to Iraq and Afghanistan that increased the costs of DoD Health Affairs.

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