ORLANDO, FL — Rick Perry told a crowd here at CPAC’s first regional conference to beware President Obama’s plan to change the way entitlements work for some retiring Americans.
It was kind of an interesting departure for the guy who recently called on 45 year-olds to plan to retire at 70.
But the future retirees Perry was talking about in his speech were veterans, which Perry said meant they deserved to have the promises made to them by the federal government kept.
“Mr. President the men and women of our military, who have served our country with courage every single day, have already sacrificed enough,” Perry said.
At issue is an administration proposal that would change the way veterans’ benefits work. The plan has been a main target for Ron Paul, but Perry picked up the line today. Here’s the gist of the plan, as reported by The Hill:
The Obama plan proposes a $200 annual fee for retired military families who want to continue coverage under a Tricare-for-Life program that supplements Medicare coverage for veterans over 65. The proposal would save the government $6.7 billion over 10 years, according to the White House.
The president’s proposal would also eliminate co-pays for mail-order drugs and institute a percentage co-pay rather than a flat-fee for in-pharmacy purchases. The White House says the move will encourage military families to use less expensive prescriptions and save the U.S. $20 billion over 20 years.
The Pentagon has also said that current retirees would be grandfathered in to the program, and would not face proposed cuts to military pension programs.
On its face, the plan is strikingly similar to Perry’s own talk about Social Security. Both are controversial and have stirred up passionate opposition
Perry’s promised that those already receiving benefits or about to receive them will not see their Social Security change. Due to the cost of carrying on Social Security into the future, however, Perry has strongly hinted at asking future retirees for more sacrifice (via raising the retirement age or other means) to keep the program running.
Nevertheless, Perry took up the banner of entitlement defender Friday, calling out Obama for suggesting the government tweak a sacred trust with retirees in order to save money.
“His latest idea is one of the most offensive to date,” Perry said. “This week, President Obama had the audacity to propose to veterans that they should be required to pay $200 when they pass 65 years-old in order to get their Medicaid benefits.”
“The least you can do Mr. President is to have the courage to cut a government bureaucracy instead of cutting their benefits,” Perry said.