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Wilson Opening Statement for Hearing on the Defense Health Program

May 15, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 15, 2009

CONTACT: Ryan Murphy

(202) 225-2452 (Office)

(202) 689-4825 (Cell)

Wilson Opening Statement for Hearing on the Defense Health Program

WASHINGTON – Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, released the following prepared remarks for the subcommittee’s hearing to receive an overview of the Defense Health Program (DHP) from the Department of Defense.

“Thank you Chairwoman Davis. Today the Subcommittee meets to hear testimony on the Defense Health Program for Fiscal Year 2010. Although we routinely have an annual hearing on the DHP, I want to emphasize that there is nothing routine about the military health system and the extraordinary care it provides to our service members and their families.

“The subcommittee remains committed to ensuring that the remarkable men and women who are entrusted with the lives of our troops have the resources to continue their work for future generations of our most deserving military beneficiaries. I would like to express my deep appreciation to all of the military health system leadership and personnel who are responsible for delivering the highest quality healthcare during these most challenging times.

“To begin, I want to commend the Department of Defense for sending us, for the first time in four years, a fully funded budget for the Defense Health Program. I applaud Secretary Gates for hearing what Congress and our military beneficiaries have said repeatedly; increasing TRICARE fees is not the solution for containing the rising cost of military health care.

“With that, I am anxious to hear from our witnesses today how the Department plans to develop a comprehensive approach to providing world class health care to our beneficiaries while at the same time controlling costs. I look forward to working with the leadership of the military health system toward that end. I would also like your commitment that all the stakeholders in military health care will be involved in the process.

“I am interested in hearing from the witnesses how the DHP supports the critical mental health services needed by our service members and their families, particularly the National Guard and reserve members who rely primarily on TRICARE Standard.

“I would like to hear from our military Surgeons General whether the DHP will fully support their responsibility to maintain medical readiness, provide healthcare to eligible beneficiaries, provide battlefield medicine to our brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan and care for those brave men and women through the long recovery process when they become injured and wounded.

“With that, I would like to welcome our witnesses and thank them for participating in the hearing today. I look forward to your testimony.”

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