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Relocation Assistance
DoD's Automated Housing Referral Network is designed to assist active duty service-members and their families in locating suitable housing at their next duty station.  The site contains listings for:
Off-base rentals;
On-base military housing;
Shared rentals;
Temporary lodging;
Homes being sold by military members
For more information, go to this Website.

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"'I remember one guy had a small American flag on the back of his pack,' said Specialist 4 Pat Selleck. 'When I saw that I felt very proud.'...  That little flag flew over Landing Zone X-Ray for the rest of the fight, raising all our spirits."
~ Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, USA (Ret) and Joseph L. Galloway ~
We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young

On Flag Day, June 14, all Americans have the opportunity to honor our nation's flag.  "Old Glory" symbolizes our national unity, our national endeavors, and our national aspiration. There is no better symbol of our country's values and traditions than the Flag of the United States.  Our proud Stars and Stripes have long inspired our people, and its beautiful red, white, and blue design is known around the world for the freedom it represents.
War Supplemental by July 4th
This week House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she was confident that Congress can come to a compromise and send a bill on war supplemental spending to the President that he can sign before the July 4 recess. 
Several important issues attached to the bill need to be resolved before it will be ready.  These include expansion of GI Bill benefits, the level of domestic spending and if any of the spending provisions need to be offset.  Additionally, if the Senate is unable to agree on a separate bill to extend Unemployment Benefits as passed by the House on Thursday,  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would move to once again attach it to the supplemental bill.  In other words, funding for our troops in the field would be used as leverage for extension of unemployment benefits.
The negotiations are proceeding and House Leaders hope to bring the bill up for consideration in the full House by mid-week.
Medicare Reimbursement Rate Legislation Stalls
Efforts to move forward with legislation blocking the impending 10.6 percent reduction in Medicare payments stalled yesterday when a motion to proceed with debate was rejected in the Senate by a vote of 54 to 39.
The bill in question, S. 3101, the Preserving Access to Medicare Act of 2008, was introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus late last week without bipartisan agreement in the committee.  The bill would freeze Medicare's physician fee schedule at their current levels for the remainder of the year and increase them by 1.1 percent in Jan. 2009.  It would also expand Medicare's coverage for preventive services and rural health care programs as well as promote electronic prescribing of prescriptions.  
Lawmakers have been at odds for months over how to pay for the reimbursement rate fix.  The Baucus bill would have reduced payments for private Medicare Advantage plans to cover virtually all of the cost—something the Administration and many in Congress object to.  The Senate leadership ignored a competing measure introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) even though it contained many of the same provisions as S. 3101 and sought offsets through a variety of more "palatable" sources. 
Following the failed vote, Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, "Now, they will do what they should have done in the first place and bring a bipartisan bill to the floor."  NAUS fully agrees.  We can only wonder what our Founders would think of a Senate that appears to work with all members only as a last-resort. 
With barely two weeks remaining before the July 1 cut goes into effect, lawmakers must come to the negotiating table quickly.  We encourage our elected Senate to pull together to fix this critically important matter.   With access to health care treatment under TRICARE in jeopardy, failure is not an option.  Please use the NAUS alert system to tell your Senators your concern.  Click Here to send an email to your elected officials.
Committee Boosts Milcon and  VA Spending
The House Appropriations Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee met Thursday and voted to increase spending to $72.7 billion. 
For the VA $47.7 was approved which is $2.9 billion over the President's budget request and $4.9 billion more than the FY 2008 budget.  $1.6 billion of the increase is slated to improve health care facilities and and treatment by increasing spending for prosthetics, caseworkers and medical research.
The subcommittee learned that there was a need to recapitalize milidtary medical treatment facilities because many are old and do not meet current standards of care.  To fund this and several other issues,  they increased the budget request by $400 million to $24.8 billion.  NAUS testified in support of these increases earlier this year.  For the full NAUS Testimony Click Here.
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Named
On Monday, the White House announced that President Bush intends to nominate Mike Donley be the next acting Secretary of the Air Force. 
Mr. Donley is presently the director of administration and management for the Department of Defense.  He previously served as assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management, and for a brief period, as acting secretary of the Air Force.
He replaces Michael Wynne who stepped aside last week in the shadow of a pair of embarrassing incidents involving the handling of nuclear weapons and equipment.
Happy 233 Birthday to the U.S. Army
Since its birth on June 1, 1775, the United States Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of our Nation.  Soldiers have fought more than 10 wars, from the American Revolution through the Cold War, the Gulf War, to the current War on Terrorism.
Their willingness to sacrifice to build a better future for others and to preserve our way of life is without a doubt, the Strength of our Nation.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who have served or are serving in the U.S. Army.  NAUS extends best wishes and "Happy Birthday, Army."
Father's Day
Father's Day has traditionally been a day where the kids take Dad to dinner or serve him breakfast or cut the lawn without being asked.  On this Father's Day let's take a cue from President Bush and remember all the fathers who have served in the Armed Forces and especially those who are now serving in harm's way deployed overseas in combat.  We can never thank them enough, but small remembrances, phone calls and letters go a long way in helping them get though the worst times.  NAUS salutes all military fathers past and present and we hope you are able to be with your loved ones.  If not, we pray that you can join them soon.
Military Health System on Blog Radio
The Military Health System's (MHS) "Dot-Mil-Docs" broadcasts every Thursday at 3 p.m. (EDT).  The MHS website also features debates, news, videos, an "ask the leader" section and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs' blog.  For those having trouble accessing BlogTalkRadio, the most recent Dot-Mil-Docs program can be accessed through the video and audio section at the Military Health System website.
Referral and Prior Authorization Requirements for TRICARE Standard
TRICARE Standard puts the power to manage your health care in your hands by not requiring referrals.  However, some services may require prior authorization.
Under TRICARE Standard prior authorization is required for the following services:
Adjunctive dental services
Home health services
Hospice care
Non-emergency inpatient behavioral health care, including non-emergency inpatient admissions for substance use disorders
Outpatient behavioral health care after the eighth visit in a fiscal year (Oct. 1–Sept. 30)
Transplants (solid organ and stem cell)
TRICARE Extended Care Health Option services
Your network provider can coordinate the authorization with the regional TRICARE contractor.  Once an authorization is granted, the contractor will also issue service beginning and ending dates for medical or surgical services.  For behavioral health authorizations, the contractor will specify a certain number of visits, in addition to the beginning and ending dates.  All authorized care must be received before the authorization's end date.  If not, your provider must acquire a new authorization.  Additional authorization rules may apply, so it's best to call your regional TRICARE contractor if you have questions.
Marine Corps Family Conference
The fifth annual National Marine Corps Family Conference will be held in Chantilly Virginia, July 25-27, 2008.  They are now accepting registrations. The theme of this year's conference is "United in Freedom."  The conference agenda includes activities, a variety of workshops, entertainment, exhibits & vendors, military displays, speakers, authors and much more.  The conference is open to spouses, parents, children, friends and anyone interested supporting those who serve.  To register, visit  Marine Parents United or call: (608) 513-1966. To request an information packet call (781) 985-6176 or email

Military One Source
Whether its help with child care, personal finances, relocation information, or resources needed for special circumstances, the consultants at Military OneSource are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to assist you with your questions.  You can call them at (800) 342-9647.  If you'd rather use the Internet, Click Here.
Navy Tests Service Dress Khaki
What is old is new again as the Navy begins wear testing for the proposed Service Dress Khaki uniform in six major Navy communities -- in Washington, D.C.; Norfolk, Va.; Millington, Tenn.; Newport, R.I.; Yokosuka, Japan; and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Wear testing of the new uniforms for chiefs and officers was officially authorized in October 2007, and is in progress now.  The style of the Service Dress Khaki is reminiscent of the uniform worn during World War II and Vietnam.  The wear test is tentatively scheduled to end in August 2008.
VA Reaching Out to Vets with Mortgage Problems
Intervention by loan counselors at the Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced the number of veterans who have had to default on their home loans.
Veterans, both those who use the VA home-loan guaranty program and those who don't take advantage of the guaranties are eligible for counseling and assistance.
VA counselors at nine regional loan centers assist people with VA-guarantied loans to avoid foreclosure through counseling and special financing arrangements.  The counselors also can assist other veterans with financial problems.  VA counselors have helped about 74,000 veterans, active-duty members and survivors keep their homes since 2000, a savings to the government of nearly $1.5 billion.
Depending on a veteran's circumstances, VA can intercede with the borrower on the veteran's behalf to pursue options -- such as repayment plans, forbearance, and loan modifications -- that would allow a veteran to keep a home.
To obtain help from a VA financial counselor, veterans can call VA toll-free at 1-877-827-3702.  Information about VA's home loan guaranty program can be obtained at their Website.
About 2.3 million home loans still in effect were purchased through VA's home-loan guaranty program, which makes home loans more affordable for veterans, active-duty members and some surviving spouses by protecting lenders from loss if the borrower fails to repay the loan.  More than 90 percent of VA-backed home loans were given without a down payment.
April data shows that foreclosures are down more than 50 percent from the same months in 2003.  VA attributes this to prudent credit underwriting standards, its robust supplemental loan servicing program and VA financial loan counselors.
NAUS Senior Legislative Assistant Morgan Brown will be on the road June 16 - 20 visiting military treatment facilities in Portland, Oregon, and San Diego, California.  His agenda includes visits to the Wounded Warrior Barracks at Camp Pendleton and the C5 program (Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care) at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. 
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Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen stand in harm's way around the globe to defend our nation and our cherished liberties. NAUS asks you to please pray for their continued strength and protection—and pray as well for their families, who daily stand in support of their spouses, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters.

House Approves NDAA
On Thursday evening the House, by a vote of 384-23, approved H.R. 5658 the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The bill rejects the Administration attempt to raise TRICARE fees and provides funding to cover the gap created.  In addition, a 3.9 percent raise for active duty troops was approved along with increases in overall troop strength for the Army and Marine Corps.  NAUS will continue to review the entire bill and as we glean other items of interest, we will pass them on.
Of interest to our readers, the NAUS supported Mail Voucher program, H.R. 1439, introduced by Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY), was added as an amendment to the NDAA.  As you recall the bill provides free mailing privileges for family members to send mail and packages to their loved ones serving in combat areas.  Senator Clinton (D-NY) is the sponsor of S. 1444, which is the companion bill.  We urge the Senate to also adopt the measure and include it in their version of the NDAA.
Hopefully there will be a sense of urgency, which will spur the Senate to complete action and approve their version of the NDAA and allow a conference to be completed before Congress recesses in October for elections.
NAUS Note: The bill approved by the House also carries a proposed cut in a future retiree COLA.  The COLA cut is a partial payment to offset the bill's rejection of the Administration's proposed fee increase.   Several military organizations refer to this move as a "simple budget gimmick."  NAUS see the "gimmick" as a clear signal from the Committee of intent, indicating a possible future position on the issue; namely, one way or the other, our elected members of Congress are turning to higher TRICARE fees or lower COLAs or some other alternative. 
Though the actual affect of the Committee's action is prospective (doesn't occur until fiscal 2013) and more-than-likely never going to happen, the fact remains that it looked to retirees to pay more.  And that's a red-flag.
Senate Approves Supplemental Spending Bill, Expansion of MGIB
On Thursday, the Senate passed a two-part supplemental spending package that included $165 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as increased veterans' benefits and an extension of unemployment insurance and other domestic programs. 
Senate lawmakers attached much of the text of S.22 introduced by Senator Jim Webb, (D-VA), which would essentially provide a four-year scholarship to any public university to individuals who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.  It would also give the prospective student a monthly stipend based on their housing costs, and ensures Guard and Reserve members have access to similar benefits. 
On numerous occasions DoD and the Administration have cited opposition to S. 22 due to the bills overall cost, ($51 Billion over 10 yrs) and the belief that a "too generous" benefit would negatively impact retention in the military.  Likewise the President has repeatedly threatened to veto the emergency supplemental if it includes spending for domestic programs or exceeded his proposed budget cap.
The bill approved by the Senate yesterday heads to the House for consideration after Congress's Memorial Day recess.  Though the House bill approved zero war funding in its supplemental last week, it approved similar language on the Montgomery GI Bill expansion,  increasing the likelihood that improved educational benefits will occur in the near future.  
House Approves Numerous Veterans Bills
As Memorial Day approaches, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the following ten bipartisan measures on Wednesday to improve benefits and services for veterans.
H.R. 2790, as amended, which passed by voice vote, will establish the position of Director of Physician Assistant Services within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
H.R. 3681, as amended, the Veterans' Benefits Awareness Act of 2007, which passed by voice vote, will authorize VA to purchase advertising in national media to promote awareness of veterans' benefits.
H.R. 3889, as amended, which passed by voice vote, will require a longitudinal study of VA vocational rehabilitation programs.
H.R. 5554, as amended, the Justin Bailey Veterans' Substance Use Disorders Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008, which passed by a voice vote, will expand and improve VA health care services for substance use disorders. 
H.R. 5664, as amended, which passed by voice vote, will direct VA to update, at least once every six years, plans and specifications for its specially adapted housing program.
H.R. 5729, as amended, the Spina Bifida Health Care Program Expansion Act, which passed by voice vote, will direct VA to provide comprehensive health care to certain Vietnam veterans' children born with spina bifida.
H.R. 6048, which passed by a voice vote, will amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to provide for the protection of child custody arrangements for parents deployed in support of a contingency operation. 
Additionally the House unanimously approved the following three bipartisan measures to improve benefits and services for veterans.
H.R. 3819, the Veterans' Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2007, which passed the House by a vote of 412-0, will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reimburse veterans receiving emergency treatment in non-VA facilities for such treatment until transfer to a VA facility is possible.
H.R. 5826, The Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2008, which passed the House by a vote of 417-0, will increase, effective December 1, 2008, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities, and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans.
H.R. 5856, the VA Medical Facility Authorization and Lease Act of 2008, which passed the House by a vote of 416-0, will authorize major medical facility projects and major medical facility leases for VA in fiscal year 2009, and will authorize approximately $2.2 billion over the next five years to improve access to healthcare for our nation's veterans.
NAUS Testimony
Thursday NAUS Legislative Director Rick Jones presented testimony to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance on "Examining the Effectiveness of VBA Outreach Efforts."  NAUS presented an analysis comparing the years from 2002-2006 in which the VA had issued a memo that directed VA representatives not to attend market VA services and benefits to veterans at Stand Downs, veterans organization conventions, retiree days or other gatherings.  Rick commented that the recent VA outreach initiative marks a positive step.  But he also cautioned the subcommittee that NAUS remains concerned that the culture in the VA needs to change as evidenced by the recent disclosure of an email by a VA employee which suggested that PTSD should not be as prevalent a diagnosis.  Presumably this is an indication that many VA employees are continuing to look at the "cost" of treatment rather than the results, which are more important for those men and women who served on the front lines in defense of our country and our way of life.  NAUS urged the subcommittee to continue to stay on top of this situation.  The May 22 testimony is available on the NAUS web site at
Memorial Day
Memorial Day provides the nation an opportunity to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation.  It is a time of remembrance.  The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).  The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.
We encourage you to enjoy Memorial Day, but ask that you take time on Monday to remember and honor our loved ones, our friends, and our ancestors who fought and died in service to our country.  And please don't forget, on Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff until noon, when it should be raised to the top.
Are Generics and Brand-Name Drugs the Same?
A generic drug contains the same active ingredients in the same dosage forms and strengths as the brand-name drug.  Since they have the same active ingredients, generic drugs can be used by patients of all ages to achieve the same medical effects of brand-name drugs.
Manufacturers do add small amounts of inactive ingredients for specific purposes, such as to add flavor and color.  As a result, brand-name drugs and their generic equivalents often look different.  Because these ingredients are inactive, they usually do not pose any risk for patients.  If you'd like to know more about generic medications, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.  
US Family Health Plan
The US Family Health Plan is a TRICARE Prime option offered through networks of community-based, not-for-profit health care systems in six areas of the United States.  You must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and reside in the one of the following designated US Family Health Plan service areas:
Brighton Marine Health Center serving Massachusetts (including Cape Cod), northern Connecticut, southern New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
CHRISTUS Health serving southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.
Johns Hopkins Medicine serving central Maryland, Washington D.C. and parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Martin's Point Health Care serving Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and northeastern New York.
PacMed Clinics serving the Puget Sound area of Washington State.
Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers serving parts of New York, all of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and southern Connecticut.
Learn more about the US Family Health Plan by Clicking Here.
Air Force Battling Spam
All Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) bases have noted that the number of spam e-mails has been increasing for months.  The potential damage from spam e-mails can come in the form of harmful attachments and Denial of Service Attacks.  Recipients should send spam, as an attachment in a new e-mail, to their base/site network control center spam mailbox for analysis.  Users at each AFMC base can obtain that e-mail address from their client support administrator.  Those assigned to Headquarters AFMC should send them to this Email Address.
Navy Seeking Applicants
Applications are being sought for the 2008 Seaman to Admiral-21 (STA-21) Commission Program, which is a full-time undergraduate education and commissioning program open to enlisted Navy personnel of all pay grades and ratings.  Selectees are provided a maximum of 36 months of full-time, year-round study to complete a baccalaureate degree.  The deadline for submission of applications for the 2009 STA-21 Program is July 1, 2008.  Specific details, eligibility criteria, application requirements and selection procedures can be found under the Program Options link at the STA-21 website.
CRSC Eligibility Under Disability Retirement
For retirees eligible for CRSC entitlement but retired under a disability retirement law, an offset is calculated before the final CRSC entitlement is determined.  To learn more on how CRSC entitlement is calculated, Click Here.
Retiree Seminars and Conferences
Are you aware that DFAS participates with the Services in holding Retiree Seminars throughout the year at various locations?  Seminars are typically one day and provide a forum for updating retirees and annuitants on pay matters as well as issues such as legislative updates.  To read more the Retiree Seminars and Conferences, Click Here.
Tax Benefit for Ohio Residents
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has signed into law relief from State taxes for military members, including retirees, whose home of residence is in the State of Ohio.  The new Ohio law is effective for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2007, military retired pay from the active or reserve components of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and the National Guard.  To read more about Ohio's tax law, Click Here.
The Wall Updated
The names of four U.S. service members were recently etched onto the walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 14 designation changes were made as well.  The new names will become "official" when they are read aloud during the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at The Wall on Monday, May 26, at 1:00 p.m.  With the additions, the total number of names on The Wall now stands at 58,260.  To read more, Click Here.
Wearing Your Medals:  A Statement of Patriotism
The Veterans Pride campaign was launched to promote veterans wearing their military medals on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the Fourth of July.  Beginning with Veterans Day 2006, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began a program aimed at to bring veterans together across the country in a symbolic demonstration of unity and patriotism.  Read more about Veterans Pride by Clicking Here.
Memorial Day Website
VA has also established a Memorial Day Website.  This site provides information from the History of Memorial Day to Military Funeral Honors to Veterans Statistics.  To visit the site,  Click Here.
What's Going on in America: Families Sue School over English Policy
Four Hispanic families are suing St. Anne's Catholic School in Wichita, Kansas, over its requirement that students speak English at all times.  The lawsuit calls for an end to the policy, which they say is discriminatory, and asks for an order barring similar policies at other schools. 
NAUS at Arlington Nation Cemetery
NAUS will be well represented at the National Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, May 26.  NAUS board member Win Reither, Col. USAF (Ret), accompanied by Veterans Benefits Advisor Mike Plumer and Senior Legislative Assistant Morgan Brown will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  We will be joined by ladies from the Society of Military Widows Fort Meade/Laurel Maryland Chapter, assisted by NAUS Chapter Management Director Hal Grant, who will also place an SMW wreath at the Tomb. 
NAUS Award for Coast Guard Academy
Paul Dillon, MCPO, USN (Ret), Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Steve Hein, LCDR, USCG (Ret), NAUS Marketing Director, presented the inaugural NAUS "Selfless Service" Award to Cadet 1/C Ryan James Brankin, USCG, during the regimental parade at the Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT, on May 22nd.  Now ENS Brankin devoted hundreds of hours of volunteer service as an Emergency Medical Technician in the New London/Groton area during his first class year alone.  He will be stationed aboard the USCGC THETIS (WMEC 910) in Key West, FL.
NAUS on the Road
NAUS Marketing Director Steve Hein will be attending the American Merchant Marine Veterans annual convention in Portland, OR, over the Memorial Day weekend.
Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen stand in harm's way around the globe to defend our nation and our cherished liberties.  NAUS asks you to please pray for their continued strength and protection—and pray as well for their families, who daily stand in support of their spouses, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters.
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"These are the times that try men's souls.  The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
~ Thomas Paine ~
(The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)

Pentagon Requests Approval to Shift Funds
On Wednesday, the Pentagon asked Congress for approval to transfer nearly $10 billion from the Navy and Air Force budgets to pay soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan before the Army budget runs dry next month.  DoD officials said the emergency action was necessary because Congress thus far has failed to pass the Bush administration's request for $102 billion in supplemental war funding.
Under the reprogramming request, the department would transfer $5.7 billion to the Army personnel accounts from the other services personnel accounts and $4 billion to Army and Special Operations Command operation and maintenance accounts from the other services operation and maintenance accounts.
The reprogramming request is only a stopgap measure in the beginnings of a serious potential Defense fiscal shortfall.  According to a Pentagon statement without supplemental funding by mid-July, "The department will exhaust all military personnel and operations funding and will be unable to make payroll for both military and civilian personnel throughout the department."
NAUS Note:  It is critical that Congress provides the needed funding as soon as possible after their return from their week-long Memorial Day recess.   Congress must come to grips with a simple reality: The Defense Department cannot operate without paying its people.
Impending Medicare Reimbursement Rate Cuts
As NAUS readers know, last December lawmakers avoided a steep reduction in doctor's reimbursements under Medicare when they approved a six-month delay in the pay cut originally scheduled January 1.  That action sets the stage for an even steeper 10.6 percent cut effective July 1, unless Congress acts to stop it. 
Though key Committee members have met several times since the beginning of the year to discuss the issue, little progress has been made.  The principal disagreement centers on how to pay for it.  Lacking consensus, the issue has come to a virtual standstill.  
Before the Memorial Day recess, however, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) stated he was moving ahead with a draft bill and would bring it directly to the Senate floor in early June.  NAUS is informed that ranking committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has his own bill and hopes a compromise can be reached on the matter.  It is clear that lawmakers from both sides want to stop the cuts; however, the closer we get to the July 1 deadline, the more likely another short-term fix will be the answer, if one can be found.
As NAUS members know, TRICARE for Life (TFL) reimbursement rates are tied to Medicare rates, which means that the impending cuts to doctor-payments would most likely cause problems in finding doctors willing to treat TFL patients.  In fact, the uncertainty about these payment rates has already caused a number of doctors to limit patients under Medicare, and presumably TFL.   Each time this threat looms and Congress accomplishes an "11th hour" fix, a few more doctors move away from Medicare and TRICARE. 
It is time for Congress to find a solution. July 1 is a month away, and Congress must act.  Now is the time for you to get involved.  Send your message to Congress by using our NAUS alert system.  Click here CAPWIZ.
SecDef Visits Guam on way to Asia Security Summit
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates began his trip to Singapore for the 7th annual Asia Security Summit with a first-hand look at developments under way on Guam to prepare for the arrival of more than 8,000 Marines from Okinawa, Japan, by 2014.
According to officials at Defense, the secretary took a helicopter tour of Andersen Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam and other island facilities to see construction already started in preparation of the arrival of members of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and an estimated 9,000 family members.
The incoming Marines and families, in addition to another 4,000 active-duty sailors, airmen and soldiers slated to arrive, will double the U.S. military presence on Guam.  The posture change will reduce the U.S. footprint in Japan to about 10,000 Marines, Morrell said, while taking advantage of opportunities provided in Guam.
In coordination with Representative Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and the Armed Services Committees, NAUS looks forward to ensure that the implementation of build-up activities works successfully for our nation's defense and the people of Guam. 
Generics and Brand-Name Drugs
Last week's comments about the efficacy and efficiency of generic drugs neglected to affirm that Brand Name Prescriptions for certain anti-seizure medications, psychiatric medications and a number of other conditions are oftentimes more beneficial than their generic counterparts.  Generics are chemically equivalent, but on occasion brand name products may be the appropriate prescription.  There are instances where a generic drug may not work for a particular patient as well as the brand name drug.  As always, if you'd like to know more about generic medications, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
NCI Cancer Prevention and Treatment Clinical Trials
An interagency agreement between the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute provides TRICARE beneficiaries more options for cancer care including greater access to the latest advances in cancer prevention and treatment through clinical trials.
To see more detail on TRICARE beneficiaries involvement in cancer prevention and treatment clinical trials, please visit this Website.   NAUS reminds readers that June 1 is designated as this year's National Cancer Survivors Day. 
DoD to Use Last Four on IDs
The Department of Defense (DoD) will begin abbreviating Social Security numbers on military identification cards in December 2008.  Only the last four digits of the number will appear on the card.  Military agencies also are moving toward using the shortened version when sharing records.  The plan is part of a bigger federal fight against large-scale cyber crime rings.  Your Social Security number is often the key to access for hackers to get to your financial, medical and other personal records.  Also, the number and the name attached to it are often all that is needed to open fraudulently a line of credit or buy property. 

Career Training for Spouses Expanded
The joint Defense and Labor departments' career advancement demonstration project has been expanded to include all active-duty military spouses.  This project helps military spouses at 18 installations get the education and other credentials needed to pursue careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations.  The project is available to spouses at military installations in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, North Carolina and Washington.  Information is available in person at installation education centers. Career counseling for military spouses is available through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, or online at Military OneSource.
Relaxed Gift Rules for Wounded Warriors
According to DoD rules, government employees and servicemembers may not accept gifts that are more than $20 from "prohibited sources."  However, Federal law was modified a couple of years ago in regard to wounded Soldiers.  If a service member incurs a combat-related disability, or illness or injury in a combat operation or zone while on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, the individual can accept an unsolicited gift.  The only restriction is if the gift is valued at greater than $335 dollars or more than $1,000 dollars in multiple gifts from the same source over a year.  In these cases, an ethics official makes a written determination.  In addition, the rule has also been waived for certain gifts, such as the gift of Segway machines for mobility purposes for the more severely wounded service members.  For more information, visit the DoD Standards of Conduct Office website.

Navy Launches New Mobile Version Website
The Navy's official website has launched several improvements and upgrades. The key changes to the website are the introduction of Underway, a low bandwidth version of the site suited for ships on deployment -- and Mobile, which allows Sailors to access the site from a mobile device such as a cellular phone. The new sites will make it easier for Sailors to stay informed on what's going on around the fleet wherever they serve. To navigate Underway, visit the Navy Underway webpage. To navigate Mobile, visit the NAVY.MIL/M webpage from your mobile phone or handheld device.

Minnesota Reduces Property Taxes
Disabled Minnesota veterans will have some, if not all, of their property taxes forgiven beginning in 2009.  Qualifying veterans must have the proper paperwork filed with their county assessor's office by July 1, 2008.  Veterans should start the process early in order to file the necessary official military discharge papers and documents verifying disability status before the deadline.  Veterans with 70 percent disability will have $150,000 excluded from the market value of their homestead property.  For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs website or telephone Minnesota's Veterans Linkage Line at 1-888-LinkVet (1-888-546-5838)

Veterans Benefits Expirations
Many of your earned benefits have an expiration date.  Below are several of the more important ones to remember.  Make sure you know take advantage of your benefits before they expire.

Tuition Assistance: $4,500 a year that expires as soon as you transition from Active Duty.
Montgomery GI Bill for Active-Duty (MGIB): 10 years from date of last discharge or release from active duty.
Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP): 10 years from date of last discharge or release from active duty.
Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR): 14 years from the date of eligibility for the program, or until released from the Selected Reserve or National Guard. Some extensions are available if activated.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VocRehab): Generally, 12 years after separation from service or within 12 years of being awarded service-connected VA disability compensation.
Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI): Coverage ends 120 days after separation or can be extended up to 1 year for totally disabled veterans.

If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW, call this toll-free number 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran.  All calls are confidential.
Retired Pay Form Revised
The DD Form 2656 "Data for Payment of Retired Personnel" was revised. The date of the revised form is February 2008.  To read more about the New form, Click Here.
Progress at Pentagon Memorial
Work on the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is proceeding as planned and work should be completed in time for the dedication ceremony on Sept. 11, 2008.  To read more Click Here.
VA Center for Veterans Enterprise Verification Program
The VA Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) launched a new program to verify the ownership and control of veteran-owned and serviced-disabled veteran-owned small businesses this week.  The Verification Program is required by Section 8127 of Public Law 109-461.  Veteran or service-disabled veteran, small business owners wishing to participate in the Veterans First Buying Authority must begin the verification process by visiting and submitting the online application for verification, VA Form 0877.  Once verified, businesses will qualify to participate in contracting opportunities outlined in the law.  For more information about the Verification Program, visit the CVE Web site at or contact the CVE at 202-303-3260.
NAUS remembers D-Day
Next Friday, June 6, will be the 64th anniversary of D-Day.  We at NAUS celebrate our victory, honor our veterans and remember the sacrifice.  Below is the text of General Eisenhower's message to the troops just before the invasion began.
"... You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. ...The free men of the world are marching together to victory.  I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.  Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."
For those of you fortunate to live near or be passing by Bedford, Virginia, you can attend the memorial service there at the National D-Day memorial.  Why Bedford, Virginia?  The town of Bedford was chosen as the city with the highest per capita loss of men, of any city in America, during the Normandy invasion.  Situated on a beautiful 88-acre site, surrounded by mountains, the D-Day memorial is definitely worth a visit anytime of the year, but especially on the D-Day anniversary.  For more info on the memorial Click Here.
NAUS on the Road
On Saturday June 7, NAUS President MG Matz and his wife Linda will be attending the Ft. Ord, California, Retiree day.  President Matz will be giving the keynote address.  The activities take place at the General Stilwell Community Center from 8:00 to 11:00 am.  Come by and meet the General and his wife Linda, who encourages you to bring a friend to join.
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Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen stand in harm's way around the globe to defend our nation and our cherished liberties. NAUS asks you to please pray for their continued strength and protection—and pray as well for their families, who daily stand in support of their spouses, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters.

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