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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 415-97
August 01, 1997

CONGRESS APPROVES NEW HEALTHCARE TEST FOR MILITARY RETIREES

The Department of Defense expressed its pleasure today with the news that the Congress has approved a limited demonstration of Medicare Subvention as part of the current budget reconciliation legislation.

"Improving access to military health care for Medicare-eligible military beneficiaries is important to the Administration, and a congressionally-authorized Medicare subvention demonstration project is an important step toward achieving that goal for our beneficiaries," said Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

Edward D. Martin, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs stated, "We are delighted with the outcome of this Congressional action; it provides us the ability to enroll and care for more of our Medicare-eligible beneficiaries in TRICARE." Demonstration details will be announced shortly.

Today's Congressional approval of a Medicare Subvention demonstration project will allow the Department to show how it can improve access to military health care on a test basis for those beneficiaries who are now eligible for Medicare. Today, most Medicare-eligible military retirees may not enroll in TRICARE, the Department's new managed health care delivery system; they receive care only on a space-available basis and access to all of the care they may need may not be available when they need it. With Medicare Subvention, these patients may enroll in TRICARE and be assured of the right care at the right time.