Washington, D.C. (October 11, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today released the following statement on the Senate passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a section that increases out-of-pocket costs for veterans on TRICARE by eliminating the grandfather clause currently in place:

"America's veterans and their families have sacrificed greatly to defend our freedoms and preserve democracy. The very least we can do is to uphold and honor our nation's commitment to provide veterans with the benefits they have been promised. Any changes, including fee increases, must be made for the next generation of military personnel. Veterans and those currently serving should not be blindsided by new requirements and fees at the hand of government mismanagement. Not only does this ensure our military has the time and ability to plan for the future, but it ensures that as a nation, we remain committed to standing by the brave men and women who answer the call of duty.

Supporting and honoring our military is not something our nation has always done. As a congressional body, and as a nation, we can never again revert to a place where we do not stand behind and show our thanks for all that our service members do so that we can live free and safe."

In December 2016, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, which only increased TRICARE benefits for retirees, service members, and their families that join the service after January 2018. Current service members and retirees were grandfathered into the old system, making them exempt from increased costs.

In July 2017, House passed the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) for FY2018 with Rep. Pearce's support. This version did not include provisions that would affect the TRICARE grandfathering clause.

In September 2017, the Senate passed the NDAA for FY2018 with the addition of Section 707, which eliminates the grandfather clause, no longer exempting current military retirees, current service members, and their families from increasing healthcare costs.

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The Grant county Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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