Sequester Damage Detailed; Health Records Won’t Merge

Tom Philpott | The News Tribune | August 3, 2013

With Congress seemingly satisfied to let the defense budget take another $52 billion hit in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 — versus Republicans accepting higher taxes on the wealthy and Democrats agreeing to curb federal entitlements — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave a preview recently of how Round 2 of budget sequestration could rattle current forces and deepen damage to U.S. readiness.

For example, options being weighed to squeeze pay and benefits, and thus protect readiness and modernization accounts from even deeper cuts than planned, include:

 • Changing how Basic Allowance for Housing is set so that service members living off base while stateside pay more out-of-pocket for housing.

 • Modifying Tricare for retirees so those in second careers are encouraged to use employer-provided health insurance when available.