NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches military retiree is wanting to raise awareness about proposed changes to the entire military healthcare system.
Bruce Hudspeth said Tuesday that enough isn't being said.
As it stands now, retired Marine Bruce Hudspeth will pay nothing for the doctor's appointment he had scheduled for this morning.
"When I joined the military, I was told after 20 years, you would draw retirement, plus you would have healthcare at government expense for the rest of your life, Hudspeth said.
However, the retired gunnery sergeant is concerned the Tricare Standard benefit that's now free could start costing $900 annually. Likewise, other plans that now require a premium could go up in cost. They're among the sweeping healthcare proposals in the 2016 Pentagon budget request that makes this veteran feel betrayed.
"How can you take something away from people that earned it? They own it," Hudspeth said. "When we retired we owned that. We did the time. We did the service. We did exactly what the government required of us. And how are you going to take that away from people once they earned it?"
Not easily. Similar proposals date back to 2012 in an effort to balance overspending and provide more choice and flexibility to beneficiaries.
The 60-year-old read about the latest proposals in a small town newspaper for military readers.
"I don't hear anybody talking about it," Hudspeth said. "It's like somebody is trying to slide it in the backdoor."
Hudspeth is concerned for other military members, active and non-active, including his father, a WWII veteran diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
"The system that they're imposing is going to put more hardships on us and limit our resources completely," Hudspeth said.
Still, they're only proposals. Hudspeth is concerned if more military retirees don't speak out against the proposed changes, their next trip to the doctor will come with an unexpected charge.
Hudspeth urges veterans to contact their federal representatives.
Despite the disagreement he has with the proposed changes, Hudspeth said he would join the Marine Corps all over again.