FRA NewsBytes April 17 2015

FRA Newsbytes 04/17/2015

FRA Newsbytes 04/17/2015

In this issue:
FRA Storms Capitol Hill
FRA Honors New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte
Permanent “Doc Fix” Approved
The Passing of NVP Roger Mitchell

FRA Storms Capitol Hill
Members of FRA’s National Board of Directors (NBOD), many Regional Vice Presidents, and other Association leaders brought the enlisted perspective to Capitol Hill this week as they visited their respective elected officials in Washington, D.C. These shipmates shared the Association’s position on priority legislative issues with their senators and representatives, asking them to oppose the administration’s call for drastically higher TRICARE Prime fees and co-pays and new enrollment fees for TRICARE Standard and new TRICARE-for-Life (TFL) beneficiaries. They urged Congress not to cut funding for military stateside commissaries and to exclude Defense from mandatory sequestration budget cuts. Additionally, FRA leaders asked lawmakers to take action to reduce the disability claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and to extend disability benefits to “Blue Water” Vietnam veterans exposed to the Agent Orange herbicide while serving off the coast of Vietnam. These Shipmates also asked legislators to oppose the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) recommendations to drastically shift TRICARE health care costs to current retirees under age 65 and to cut retirement benefits for those future service members that serve 20 or more years. FRA wants to thank the Shipmates that sent nearly 2,500 advocacy messages to Capitol Hill in conjunction with our NBOD storming the Hill.
FRA Honors New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte
FRA presented its prestigious annual Pinnacle Award to New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte to honor her outstanding leadership in preserving and enhancing the quality of life for military personnel, retirees, veterans and their families. Ayotte, New Hampshire’s junior senator, was selected to receive the association’s highest honor for her stand against the reduction in cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) of retired pay for military retirees under the age of 62 and for her opposition to TRICARE fee increases. She also strongly supports legislation to exclude the Department of Defense (DoD) budget from sequestration cuts. FRA additionally recognized Ayotte for her advocacy on behalf of all military veterans, including sponsorship of bills such as the Veterans Health Equity Act and the Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act. The award was presented in a Capitol Hill ceremony hosted by FRA.
Permanent “Doc Fix” Approved
The Senate approved legislation (HR 2) that will make the so-called “Doc Fix” permanent and sent it to the president to be signed into law. The House had already overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan bill (HR 2) that replaces the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) pricing methodology, which would have mandated a 22 percent cut to reimbursements to doctors who see Medicare/TRICARE patients. These reductions would have caused doctors to leave the Medicare and TRICARE programs and reduce TRICARE/Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care. President Barack Obama has indicated he will sign the legislation into law. FRA wants to thank the Shipmates that generated nearly 10,000 (9,985) messages this year urging Congress to make the “doc fix” permanent.
The Passing of NVP Roger Mitchell
It is with much regret that FRA has to inform its members that on April 7, 2015 our National Vice President, CWO-4, USN, (Ret.) Roger Mitchell, passed away. Roger was born in Connellsville, Penn. and moved to Plant City in 2002 to retire. He served 22 years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer (CWO-4). After serving in the Navy, he worked for Lockheed Martin as a program manager. Roger was also the National Vice President for the Fleet Reserve Association and was a volunteer Hunter Safety instructor for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Anne Harrison Mitchell; three sons: Thomas Mitchell (Kimberly), Roger Mitchell (Shannon), William Mitchell (Katrena); one sister, Anita Grace Bills of Erie, PA; and five granddaughters: Carson Leigh, Olivia, Abigail, Naomi and Kellan. He is predeceased by brother, Dwight Lee.

FRA’s C&BL Section 705 (c) states that “In case of death…of the National Vice President, the National Board of Directors shall appoint a successor to complete the unexpired term on the National Board of Directors.” A shipmate will soon be appointed to serve the remainder of Roger’s term—the announcement will be made very soon.