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Chief_KO
08-07-2013, 09:49 PM
DoD is looking at cutting BAH rates.

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20130807/BENEFITS02/308070032/DoD-looks-ways-scale-back-BAH

If you've never considered joining AFSA, this is yet another reason to do so. AFSA is the only voice on Capitol Hill speaking for the Air Force Enlisted Corps.

imported_KnuckleDragger
08-07-2013, 09:59 PM
Won't happen. Too much involved with privatized housing. i.e. too many hands in too many pockets.

efmbman
08-07-2013, 10:05 PM
Won't happen. Too much involved with privatized housing. i.e. too many hands in too many pockets.

Exactly right. More sky is falling / Washington Monument Syndrome.

CYBERFX1024
08-07-2013, 10:10 PM
This would suck literally for everyone that gets BAH for those on Active Duty and those like myself who are taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I like getting my big extra check a month for BAH.

Now I just got to wait on the VA to process my claim.

technomage1
08-07-2013, 10:19 PM
I don't know. It took us 10 years from when I joined up to get them o pay 100%. Either give me 100% or start building apartment blocks on base for single NCOs and above.

sharkhunter
08-07-2013, 11:22 PM
I don't know. It took us 10 years from when I joined up to get them o pay 100%. Either give me 100% or start building apartment blocks on base for single NCOs and above.

Not sure about stateside, but some overseas bases already started doing that. When I was leaving Turkey in 2009, one of my co-workers was going to Japan and he was told that it was mandatory for single NCOs to live on base. I think Belgium is going that way too.

Capt Alfredo
08-07-2013, 11:34 PM
Pretty sure rents in the community would drop by whatever percentage BAH dropped. Funny how whenever you move somewhere, the average rent is pegged to the local BAH rate.

imported_wtrwlkr
08-07-2013, 11:43 PM
Pretty sure rents in the community would drop by whatever percentage BAH dropped. Funny how whenever you move somewhere, the average rent is pegged to the local BAH rate.

It's EXACTLY that way here in beautiful Clovis, NM. It's ridiculous. I've seen people try to rent out third wheel trailers for $800 (BAH for a single E-5). I don't know about the rent dropping too much in response to a BAH decrease. The realtors here would probably just expect single people to get roommates or spouses to get jobs. Once they got used to the cash cow, I doubt they'd want to go back.

technomage1
08-08-2013, 12:01 AM
Not sure about stateside, but some overseas bases already started doing that. When I was leaving Turkey in 2009, one of my co-workers was going to Japan and he was told that it was mandatory for single NCOs to live on base. I think Belgium is going that way too.

Japan I can answer for. It's because the Japanese government built them for us.

Asgard
08-08-2013, 12:28 AM
There are better ways to cut the amount of BAH spent. Make state side rules similar to overseas....if people share, their BAH is cut. Also do away with dual military getting 2 BAH payments. Just my 2 cents.

Chief_KO
08-08-2013, 12:29 AM
There is some disparity in the BAH rates...
With dependent rates at my current location MSgt: $1386 vs Maj: $1746 SSgt: $1119 vs 1Lt: $1137
I picked those for comparison as both would typically be fairly even age-wise, TIS-wise, and family size-wise (obviously there are exceptions to all three).
Why would a Major with 15 yrs TIS receive nearly $400 more a month for housing allowance than the MSgt with similar TIS while the 1Lt and SSgt (in my example 5 yrs TIS) receive basically the same?

I would be you all a box of Hostess Twinkies that every benefit we have, from monthly pay, BAS (while deployed), HDP, FSA, DLA, you name it is under the microscope. And the folks peering into the eyepiece have virtually no idea what it's like to be in uniform. Like I said in the OP, if you're not an AFSA member you're not being represented on Capitol Hill. And if you think I'm being a little dramatic, ask the retirees who will no longer be seen by on base doctors, or the retirees who saw free health care for life go the wayside. Yes, there is waste...even in our benefit programs. But, we need to cut the waste, not just hack away blindly.

Airborne
08-08-2013, 02:08 AM
It's EXACTLY that way here in beautiful Clovis, NM. It's ridiculous. I've seen people try to rent out third wheel trailers for $800 (BAH for a single E-5). I don't know about the rent dropping too much in response to a BAH decrease. The realtors here would probably just expect single people to get roommates or spouses to get jobs. Once they got used to the cash cow, I doubt they'd want to go back.

This is true in rural areas or places where the base/post is the main gig in town, but other places not so much.

Absinthe Anecdote
08-08-2013, 02:59 AM
It's EXACTLY that way here in beautiful Clovis, NM. It's ridiculous. I've seen people try to rent out third wheel trailers for $800 (BAH for a single E-5). I don't know about the rent dropping too much in response to a BAH decrease. The realtors here would probably just expect single people to get roommates or spouses to get jobs. Once they got used to the cash cow, I doubt they'd want to go back.

Third wheel trailers to live in? Aren't those motorcycle trailers?

imported_wtrwlkr
08-08-2013, 03:22 AM
I may have used the wrong term, but I basically mean the motorhome-like trailers you pull behind a pickup truck,

jpeters
08-08-2013, 03:29 AM
We just got a BAH raise in this last update...what does this town do? Jack utility rates up 10%. The local civilian population has the option to go on average monthly billing, military isn't allowed. So my BAH and then some is already being used up. It's going to be a huge pain in the ass if they lower it back again.

BRUWIN
08-08-2013, 07:40 AM
I believe it's wrong to take money from you guys. Slow pay raises...yes. But don't take money you've already budgeted. It's totally wrong.

CJSmith
08-08-2013, 08:20 AM
OHA needs to be looked at for sure. While I don't agree cutting BAH in the states, OHA is pure madness. Here in a country that was defeated 70 years ago the locals are charging 'Muricans an exorbitant amount of money no other local would pay. It's effing nuts. Want to skin the budget a little? Peer into OHA!

imported_StandardsAMust
08-08-2013, 09:15 AM
OHA needs to be looked at for sure. While I don't agree cutting BAH in the states, OHA is pure madness. Here in a country that was defeated 70 years ago the locals are charging 'Muricans an exorbitant amount of money no other local would pay. It's effing nuts. Want to skin the budget a little? Peer into OHA!

I would also look into the utility allowance too...you get the equivilant of $600-$900 a month for utilities. WHAT????

technomage1
08-08-2013, 09:25 AM
I would also look into the utility allowance too...you get the equivilant of $600-$900 a month for utilities. WHAT????

Where at? 15 years overseas and the max I ever got for utilities was around $500 in Japan.

CJSmith
08-08-2013, 09:46 AM
Where at? 15 years overseas and the max I ever got for utilities was around $500 in Japan.

http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/ohaCalc.cfm

Location code DE700 for a MSgt No Dependants equals $705.16 as of the 1 Aug 2013 period.

BOSS302
08-08-2013, 09:56 AM
I would also look into the utility allowance too...you get the equivilant of $600-$900 a month for utilities. WHAT????

Utilities cost a lot more overseas. In the UK, I had E-ON (Electric), Anglian Water (Water), Giffords (Oil Tank), BT (Phone).

I lived by myself, changed all my bulbs in my house to CFLs, and used "Eco" mode on my dishwasher. My showers were also fitted with "Power Showers" since water pressure is different in the UK than in the US. Power Showers use less water but increase electricity consumption. My oven/range was also electric. My water heater was dual electric/oil fired but I used the "oil fire" option through the boiler because the electric costs would have been enormous.

Between paying E-ON, Anglian Water, Giffords to fill my oil tank when it got below 100 liters, and my BT phone/broadband, I never "made" money from the Utility Allowance. Yes, I could have "made money" if I wore layers in the winter in my own house, line-dried my clothes, cooked sparingly, washed everything in cold water, took cold quick showers, and whatever else money pinchers love to do. I chose instead to live comfortably and the Utility Allowance allowed me to do that in a country with notoriously-high utility prices. The Utility Allowance is not there for people to make bank. If they are, then they are sacrificing elsewhere and that's not the intent of the Utility Allowance.

Now, with Vehicle Tax (250 pounds) and TV Tax (100 pounds, I think) no longer reimbursable, that Utility Allowance is even more attractive. And COLA in regards to the UK is a joke.

Be careful what you wish for.

BOSS302
08-08-2013, 09:58 AM
http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/ohaCalc.cfm

Location code DE700 for a MSgt No Dependants equals $705.16 as of the 1 Aug 2013 period.

And go research the costs of utilities in Japan. It's an island nation with almost no energy-producing natural resources of its own. They went to war in the Pacific simply because they were so depressed when it came to natural resources (and the U.S./U.K. embargoes crunched them even worse). Their prices are worse than the UK.

CJSmith
08-08-2013, 10:05 AM
And go research the costs of utilities in Japan. It's an island nation with almost no energy-producing natural resources of its own. They went to war in the Pacific simply because they were so depressed when it came to natural resources (and the U.S./U.K. embargoes crunched them even worse). Their prices are worse than the UK.

Yep, lived both at Yokota and Kadena. My good friend was dating a local and she was floored what we paid in rent. At least with utilities it's what they charge everyone living in the area, although I'm sure we drive that price up a bit.

akruse
08-08-2013, 10:16 AM
Yep, lived both at Yokota and Kadena. My good friend was dating a local and she was floored what we paid in rent. At least with utilities it's what they charge everyone living in the area, although I'm sure we drive that price up a bit.

Had a close friend separate while over there. Went to his landlord and said he would need to cancel due to not being able to pay what he was currently paying. Landlord dropped his price in half on the spot to keep him in the house. There are a lot of people over there getting rich.

BOSS302
08-08-2013, 10:30 AM
Had a close friend separate while over there. Went to his landlord and said he would need to cancel due to not being able to pay what he was currently paying. Landlord dropped his price in half on the spot to keep him in the house. There are a lot of people over there getting rich.

The first question out of the mouths of the real estate agents in the Osan AB area is, "What is your rank?" The apartments are almost all the same. American Villa. Orange Villa. Virginia Ville. Privillage. Top Gun (lol, other side past the ROKAF gate). If there is an apartment flat that has five identical apartments with two TSgts, one MSgt, a SSgt, and a 1st LT spread out amongst them, I can guarantee that each one will be paying their max cap OHA.

raider8169
08-08-2013, 11:06 AM
The first question out of the mouths of the real estate agents in the Osan AB area is, "What is your rank?" The apartments are almost all the same. American Villa. Orange Villa. Virginia Ville. Privillage. Top Gun (lol, other side past the ROKAF gate). If there is an apartment flat that has five identical apartments with two TSgts, one MSgt, a SSgt, and a 1st LT spread out amongst them, I can guarantee that each one will be paying their max cap OHA.

I have a TSgt here that pays max for a 3 bedroom place all to himself and there was another TSgt that paid max for a 1 bedroom place.

When I was in Germany I made bank on COLA and utilities. I think I paid for garbage and that was it yet I was athorized full utilities allowance. It was awesome.

CJSmith
08-08-2013, 11:06 AM
I don't think MT does any investigative journalism but it would be nice to see a piece on how rent overseas is sometimes almost double what locals pay. CommunityEditor

technomage1
08-08-2013, 11:36 AM
http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/ohaCalc.cfm

Location code DE700 for a MSgt No Dependants equals $705.16 as of the 1 Aug 2013 period.

Wow, it's really gone up then. In any event, those rates are based on surveys done by members for a year long period. I've sat many a time at the computer with a stack of receipts calculating what I spent on utilities. As others have noted, be careful what you wish for because you will wind up sticking people with large bills if you cut too much.

technomage1
08-08-2013, 11:38 AM
I don't think MT does any investigative journalism but it would be nice to see a piece on how rent overseas is sometimes almost double what locals pay. CommunityEditor

And that's different from the states how? It's not double usually but as others have noted, its funny how the rent always winds up being the BAH level.....

CJSmith
08-08-2013, 11:46 AM
And that's different from the states how? It's not double usually but as others have noted, its funny how the rent always winds up being the BAH level.....

Don't know how it's different in the states. I've only had two assignments CONUS, one in the dorms and the other I bought a home. Where I bought a home the rent wasn't all that much off since the area didn't solely depend on military.

With my three OCONUS assignments; we most certainly pay a ton more than the locals. Here in Germany, in some cases it is double. One guy a cubicle over from me lives in a duplex. His German neighbor in the other half of the duplex pays half as much rent.

Chief_KO
08-08-2013, 11:48 AM
BAH stateside is set by a survey conducted near each base, so it is natural that BAH is near the amount of rent. BAH is not set to pay 100% of your costs, but merely to "offset" your costs. OHA and the various overseas allowances are computed differently and are set to pay 100%. This is because of the limited places/commute where you can live (we all know this is not exactly true...but), as opposed to CONUS where you can live pretty much anywhere you want.
DoD considers enlisted to be renters (apartment/condo) up till the rank of MSgt (I read that fact somewhere, but can't remember where), while officers are considered to be home owners starting at Captain, hence the differing BAH amounts.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
08-08-2013, 11:58 AM
All single members should live in dorms. All married members should be able to buy a house and have it paid in full (up to $300,000) by the gov. Mil-mil married couples just get one house. There, problem solved. Thread :closed_2

Shaken1976
08-08-2013, 12:18 PM
Several years ago BAH actually went down at the location I was at. Those of who had been there of course were grandfathered and didn't get a decrease. However, you can bet my landlord tried to raise my rent. I explained and showed him BAH did not increase and he left my rent at the same.

imported_KnuckleDragger
08-08-2013, 12:47 PM
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/images/550-rent-is-too-damn-high.jpg

Airborne
08-08-2013, 12:51 PM
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/images/550-rent-is-too-damn-high.jpg

Now we can close the thread. LOLOL!!!

Absinthe Anecdote
08-08-2013, 02:15 PM
That guy reminds me of the Lorax!

fufu
08-08-2013, 02:32 PM
Several years ago BAH actually went down at the location I was at. Those of who had been there of course were grandfathered and didn't get a decrease. However, you can bet my landlord tried to raise my rent. I explained and showed him BAH did not increase and he left my rent at the same.

No sh!t! I haven't gotten a BAH increase since 2007 and I've gotten promoted! My BAH has a TSgt in 2007 is higher than my BAH as a Master today. Meanwhile, every single utility has increased by a few percent. Fun times.

DocBones
08-08-2013, 03:55 PM
The way I see this is not going to be popular. The current downsizing of the Armed Forces is hurting the readiness of the Armed Forces. The non flight status of many of the AF aereoplanes is hurting the readiness, globally.

Yes, I see that drones are cheaper, and more expendable, leading to less mission hours for bombers and recon aircraft.

However, the dropping to possibly 150,000 for the Marine Corps, the Army losing people hand over fist assuredly cuts down on the operational strength of the deployable troops.

To cut back on BAH for single individuals could be saving the entire armed forces from cutting out some of the troops being cut from the fold.

I do realize that cutting the BAH is going to be painful. However, with the sizeable increase in pay to the armed forces during the previous years, those increases could maybe be used to get a house offbase.

Before anyone starts sniping at me, I do remember receiving, when I first entered the Marines, $62 per payday. That was less than any kind of housing, offbase. Back then, one had to be frugal to survive, even if they were living on base. Going to get a haircut, and to have the uniforms washed and starched had to be figured in, before even thinking of owning a car, with the insurance. Gas prices were pretty low back then, but that was part of the equation.

To live offbase, even with BAS and BAQ, was pretty dicy, at best.

I do believe that y'all have to think about the good of the services, including the AF. What good would anyone of you be to the defense of the USA and it's Constitution, if everyone were to think, "I don't care if were are operational at all, as long as i can get every single penny out of the government that it owes me."

The Age of Entitlement for the Armed Forces is ending.

Or think of it this way. Would you rather be dropped out of the AF, in the reverse move of stop gap, or will you accept that the goverment's "Here! Plenty of money! Stay in so we can be big and bad," has ended?

I know. I'd be plenty mad if this happened to me during my career. I do remember the old style way of allowing E6s and above to live in base housing on Parris Island, SC. A lot of the E6s were Drill Instructors, out there. They had to live in shabby single wide trailers that were manufactured in the stone age. They still, if living in base housing, have to live in those terrible conditions. At least they were, during my last visit to PI, a couple of years ago.

I also remember from the mid '70s, when the Armed Forces were being reduced in size, having to live off of Parris Island in a pretty danged nasty domicile, off of my base pay, with another DI, to help defray the cost.

It looks like it going to be the '70s, revisited. I know how badly this can feel. Believe me. The money for everything is now in a tight squeeze. Buck up, me hearties. It will get better, later on. Right now, the heavy handed cutting of everything by the Armed Forces is nothing new. It is cyclic. What goes around comes around.

BOSS302
08-08-2013, 07:25 PM
One of the biggest problems in regards to BAH/OHA and Utility Allowances/COLA is that a lot of service members think it is there to help them live like the Kardashians. They think it's there to help them make payments on that BMW 5-Series that they bought from BMW Military Sales in Kaiserslauten. Obviously, it is not. It's there to help service members maintain a standard of living that is comparable to a comfortable standard of living enjoyed by their host nation counterparts. The US Air Force and other services don't want their service members living in squalor on the economy.

The service member does nothing to help his or herself in many cases. How many times have you seen your co-workers fudging the OHA/COLA surveys?

"Oh I do ALLLLL my shopping at Tescos and Debenhams and my electric bill is $1,000/month!" WTF? Nice integrity, huh? Luckily I think the bean counters and powers that be see through a lot of the BS in those surveys and keep money realistic. Thus why many are pissy about COLA and OHA rates...they're not getting that artificial inflation they want so they can get that BMW 7-Series or that 27-in iMac or 70" LED TV.

What really irks me through all of this is that there is SO much more wasteful spending in the military. My office will be getting a new All-in-One printer/fax/scanner/DNA sampler/samurai sword maker to replace our current printer that works just fine. This one printer is worth three months of my Utility Allowance.

And they want to focus on the allowances that the rank & file get?

They can fuck off out of here. I've already renewed my AFSA membership and written to my Senators. Everyone else should do the same if you're serious about protecting benefits from the money vampires that want to reach into your pockets to pay for the next overpriced/over budget/under performing product from Military Industries, Inc.

AFcynic
08-08-2013, 07:26 PM
The DoD is looking at ways to cut spending in any way possible. The proposed BAH decrease is just the beginning. They will eventually force AD retirement checks to go the way of the Guard/Reserve - see you at 60 years old. Tuition assistance will decrease to 50-75%, Tricare will begin co-pays for folks that don't use the clinic, and I can see them ending the combat zone tax exclusion.

The DoD isn't going to cut their pet programs, and the military industrial complex isn't going away any time soon. It's easier to cut people than it is to cut the 22, or the 35, or the new BMT campuses on Lackland.

BOSS302
08-08-2013, 07:35 PM
The DoD is looking at ways to cut spending in any way possible. The proposed BAH decrease is just the beginning. They will eventually force AD retirement checks to go the way of the Guard/Reserve - see you at 60 years old. Tuition assistance will decrease to 50-75%, Tricare will begin co-pays for folks that don't use the clinic, and I can see them ending the combat zone tax exclusion.

The DoD isn't going to cut their pet programs, and the military industrial complex isn't going away any time soon. It's easier to cut people than it is to cut the 22, or the 35, or the new BMT campuses on Lackland.

To a point. Congress still holds the purse and they understand that there are certain personnel costs that they simply cannot touch too drastically lest they see their re-election chances go down in flames. Retirement is one program that is poison. It's been fiddled with as much as they can, in my opinion, without taking steps that would cause outrage. Furthermore, the military pension after 20 years is a huge recruitment/retainment tool. Turn it into something that is heavily affected - collecting at 60 years of age, for instance - and watch the morale of those serving (if they are not grandfathered in) plummet and watch the overall quality of those coming in plummet in kind.

There are many ways the Air Force, for instance, could save big bucks. Why is the Air Force spending billions upon billions on F-35s? We have 4th-Gen platforms that are still above and beyond what the rest of the world has. Upgrade those platforms (as they did with the F-15 Silent Eagle) instead of throwing money into black hole projects.

coloringoutsidethelines
08-08-2013, 09:33 PM
They can gladly look at docking me out of 20% when the Senate/Congress docks their pay and when we start making people on welfare earn their check. I'm sick of this cost cutting being on the back of the defense industry.

imported_Shove_your_stupid_meeting
08-08-2013, 09:54 PM
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/images/550-rent-is-too-damn-high.jpg


Post of the week.

Airborne
08-09-2013, 01:29 AM
One of the biggest problems in regards to BAH/OHA and Utility Allowances/COLA is that a lot of service members think it is there to help them live like the Kardashians. They think it's there to help them make payments on that BMW 5-Series that they bought from BMW Military Sales in Kaiserslauten. Obviously, it is not. It's there to help service members maintain a standard of living that is comparable to a comfortable standard of living enjoyed by their host nation counterparts. The US Air Force and other services don't want their service members living in squalor on the economy.

The service member does nothing to help his or herself in many cases. How many times have you seen your co-workers fudging the OHA/COLA surveys?

"Oh I do ALLLLL my shopping at Tescos and Debenhams and my electric bill is $1,000/month!" WTF? Nice integrity, huh? Luckily I think the bean counters and powers that be see through a lot of the BS in those surveys and keep money realistic. Thus why many are pissy about COLA and OHA rates...they're not getting that artificial inflation they want so they can get that BMW 7-Series or that 27-in iMac or 70" LED TV.

What really irks me through all of this is that there is SO much more wasteful spending in the military. My office will be getting a new All-in-One printer/fax/scanner/DNA sampler/samurai sword maker to replace our current printer that works just fine. This one printer is worth three months of my Utility Allowance.

And they want to focus on the allowances that the rank & file get?

They can fuck off out of here. I've already renewed my AFSA membership and written to my Senators. Everyone else should do the same if you're serious about protecting benefits from the money vampires that want to reach into your pockets to pay for the next overpriced/over budget/under performing product from Military Industries, Inc.

Just because someone has a 5 series doesnt mean they are dropping COLA on it. Unless you know everyone's situation you shouldnt comment on it. I would say more people than not get some kick back from their parents. Also many people do get money from deployments etc. I can without a doubt tell you that after I was in the UK for a year I did not shop at the commissary at all. I did all my shopping at Sainsbury's. My winter energy bill was around 500GBP for a two bedroom and two and a half people. A family of four with the spouse at home all day long could approach that price. Doesnt apply to everyone but its not that far off.

CJSmith
08-09-2013, 03:28 AM
Just because someone has a 5 series doesnt mean they are dropping COLA on it. Unless you know everyone's situation you shouldnt comment on it. I would say more people than not get some kick back from their parents. Also many people do get money from deployments etc. I can without a doubt tell you that after I was in the UK for a year I did not shop at the commissary at all. I did all my shopping at Sainsbury's. My winter energy bill was around 500GBP for a two bedroom and two and a half people. A family of four with the spouse at home all day long could approach that price. Doesnt apply to everyone but its not that far off.

True story. Know a guy that bought a $60K+ Porsche all from money he made on his multiple deployments. He's a SSgt.

fufu
08-09-2013, 03:33 AM
True story. Know a guy that bought a $60K+ Porsche all from money he made on his multiple deployments. He's a SSgt.

Ya? And he is a dumbass. Never pump your money into something that will lose value...dumb.

grimreaper
08-09-2013, 05:42 AM
To a point. Congress still holds the purse and they understand that there are certain personnel costs that they simply cannot touch too drastically lest they see their re-election chances go down in flames. Retirement is one program that is poison. It's been fiddled with as much as they can, in my opinion, without taking steps that would cause outrage. Furthermore, the military pension after 20 years is a huge recruitment/retainment tool. Turn it into something that is heavily affected - collecting at 60 years of age, for instance - and watch the morale of those serving (if they are not grandfathered in) plummet and watch the overall quality of those coming in plummet in kind.

There are many ways the Air Force, for instance, could save big bucks. Why is the Air Force spending billions upon billions on F-35s? We have 4th-Gen platforms that are still above and beyond what the rest of the world has. Upgrade those platforms (as they did with the F-15 Silent Eagle) instead of throwing money into black hole projects.


Talks of cutting BAH, COLA, changing retirements, raising Tricare rates, cutting end-strength, mothballing jets and ships, etc...all at the same time Congress gets Obama to basically get them out of the requirements of ObamaCare that THEY passed...all on the taxpayers dime. Unions will be the next ones let off the hook. The fix is in folks and it has been for awhile.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/07/usa-health-congress-idUSL1N0G820F20130807?feedType=RSS&feedName=rbssHealthcareNews&rpc=22


U.S. Congress wins relief on Obamacare health plan subsidies

Congress, staff, to keep federal health premium payments


By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Congress has won some partial relief for lawmakers and their staffs from the "Obamacare" health reforms that it passed and subjected itself to three years ago.

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers and their staffs will continue to receive a federal contribution toward the health insurance that they must purchase through soon-to-open exchanges created by President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

The decision by the Office of Personnel Management, with Obama's blessing, will prevent the largely unintended loss of healthcare benefits for 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives and thousands of Capitol Hill staff.

When Congress passed the health reform law known as Obamacare in 2010, an amendment required that lawmakers and their staff members purchase health insurance through the online exchanges that the law created. They would lose generous coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

The amendment's author, Republican Senator Charles Grassley, argued that if Obamacare plans were good enough for the American public, they were good enough for Congress. Democrats, eager to pass the reforms, went along with it.

But it soon became apparent the provision contained no language that allowed federal contributions toward their health plans that cover about 75 percent of the premium costs.

This caused fears that staff would suddenly face sharply higher healthcare costs and leave federal service, causing a "brain drain" on Capitol Hill.

But Wednesday's proposed rule from the OPM, the federal government's human resources agency, means that Congress will escape the most onerous impact of law as it was written.

The OPM said the federal contributions will be allowed to continue for exchange-purchased plans for lawmakers and their staffs, ensuring that those working on Capitol Hill will effectively get the same health contributions as millions of other federal workers who keep their current plan.

The problem surrounding the Obamacare language for Capitol Hill staff was the subject of intense negotiations in recent weeks between House and Senate leaders and the Obama administration.

Some Republicans immediately slammed the OPM decision, using it as fuel for their campaign to turn public opinion against Obamacare just as its core provisions are due to go into effect.

"While the administration has handed out waiver after waiver and exemption after exemption for the well-connected in Washington, they have done nothing to lower health care costs for families in Michigan," said Dave Camp, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Camp said the OPM ruling is the "latest proof" of impending failure for the reforms and pledged that Republicans would keep trying to repeal them.

CJSmith
08-09-2013, 05:50 AM
Ya? And he is a dumbass. Never pump your money into something that will lose value...dumb.

Meh, to each their own. While I would never buy a car like that and agree with your statement, he's a pretty smart dude and manages his money pretty well. He paid for the car in cash and has no monthly payments. For him, it was a long time dream to own one and after 4+ years of an almost 1:1 dwell deployment cycle, he felt he deserved it. More power to him.

BOSS302
08-09-2013, 07:54 AM
Just because someone has a 5 series doesnt mean they are dropping COLA on it. Unless you know everyone's situation you shouldnt comment on it. I would say more people than not get some kick back from their parents. Also many people do get money from deployments etc. I can without a doubt tell you that after I was in the UK for a year I did not shop at the commissary at all. I did all my shopping at Sainsbury's. My winter energy bill was around 500GBP for a two bedroom and two and a half people. A family of four with the spouse at home all day long could approach that price. Doesnt apply to everyone but its not that far off.

Known of too many examples of this, to include close friends of mine. If it never happened I would not have made that comment. Alas, it does happen and it happens quite frequently. If it touched a nerve with you, I hope it wasn't too bad. Obviously I did not intend to convey that every single service member in Europe uses COLA/UA to buy BMWs...

I too shopped off-base; it cost more but I think the quality of groceries in Europe far exceeds that of the US. I love the UK's free-range eggs, milks, cheeses, and butcher shops. Even UK "junk food" tastes far superior to US junk food - Walker's Crisps are so good. It did cost more than the commissary but not by all that much.

Energy bills will depend upon the type of house one lives in. My home in the UK was in one of the worst bands of energy usage due to its age. Many of the new homes built since the 90s have double-glazed windows, condensing boilers, better insulation, etc. I wish I had lived in one of those, it would have saved on energy costs.

SENDBILLMONEY
08-09-2013, 11:03 AM
Just because someone has a 5 series doesnt mean they are dropping COLA on it. Unless you know everyone's situation you shouldnt comment on it. I would say more people than not get some kick back from their parents.

Back in the 80s, we had a SrA Comm job controller go on leave suddenly. He came back with a Porsche. One of my Maintenance co-workers gestured to the car and asked him "who died?"

"My parents," he replied.

RetC141BFCC
10-12-2013, 05:53 PM
As you know I am retired and when I tell my coworkers about a TV lic they look at me like I have two heads. I found my old TV lic in a box of papers and had it framned it hangs over the Bar in my basement. Its good for a laugh when others look at it

RetC141BFCC
10-12-2013, 06:05 PM
Hey Boss302
Too bad you do not live in Virginia. I am retiring from my post AF job in March 2013. I am then moving to my summer home and In 2014 I am going to run for congress for the 5th District in VA. This guy is beatable. I could use your vote. I have started the groundwork. My campaign slogan is threw them all out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia%27s_5th_congressional_district

garhkal
10-12-2013, 06:37 PM
Pretty sure rents in the community would drop by whatever percentage BAH dropped. Funny how whenever you move somewhere, the average rent is pegged to the local BAH rate.

True dat.. Practically every place overseas i lived at, EVERY rental agency in the local community had PRINTED OUT copies of the OHA rates for every pay grade with and without dependants, and no matter what someone else paid for the same place, your rent was always AT that limit. Heck in Bahrain, i had a English Expat who paid 300 dinar LESS than i did for the exact same place i was living in, all cause his firm's 'housing allowance' was that rate..


Utilities cost a lot more overseas. In the UK, I had E-ON (Electric), Anglian Water (Water), Giffords (Oil Tank), BT (Phone).

I lived by myself, changed all my bulbs in my house to CFLs, and used "Eco" mode on my dishwasher. My showers were also fitted with "Power Showers" since water pressure is different in the UK than in the US. Power Showers use less water but increase electricity consumption. My oven/range was also electric. My water heater was dual electric/oil fired but I used the "oil fire" option through the boiler because the electric costs would have been enormous.

Between paying E-ON, Anglian Water, Giffords to fill my oil tank when it got below 100 liters, and my BT phone/broadband, I never "made" money from the Utility Allowance. Yes, I could have "made money" if I wore layers in the winter in my own house, line-dried my clothes, cooked sparingly, washed everything in cold water, took cold quick showers, and whatever else money pinchers love to do. I chose instead to live comfortably and the Utility Allowance allowed me to do that in a country with notoriously-high utility prices. The Utility Allowance is not there for people to make bank. If they are, then they are sacrificing elsewhere and that's not the intent of the Utility Allowance.

Now, with Vehicle Tax (250 pounds) and TV Tax (100 pounds, I think) no longer reimbursable, that Utility Allowance is even more attractive. And COLA in regards to the UK is a joke.

Be careful what you wish for.

You forgot one of the biggest money sinks in england. VAT. Higher than any US state's sales tax.


The first question out of the mouths of the real estate agents in the Osan AB area is, "What is your rank?" The apartments are almost all the same. American Villa. Orange Villa. Virginia Ville. Privillage. Top Gun (lol, other side past the ROKAF gate). If there is an apartment flat that has five identical apartments with two TSgts, one MSgt, a SSgt, and a 1st LT spread out amongst them, I can guarantee that each one will be paying their max cap OHA.

And they do that even if the higher ranked people are living in SMALLER places than the others..



I don't think MT does any investigative journalism but it would be nice to see a piece on how rent overseas is sometimes almost double what locals pay. CommunityEditor

And that's different from the states how? It's not double usually but as others have noted, its funny how the rent always winds up being the BAH level.....

For one, i have Yet to live stateside anywhere, where us military paid more than 40% more than someone else for the same place. Overseas, i have seen almost 130% more paid just cause us mil have a OHA.. a flat and constant cash source. Which is why i agree with CJsmith, that this is one thing that could definitely do with investigating.



The service member does nothing to help his or herself in many cases. How many times have you seen your co-workers fudging the OHA/COLA surveys?

"Oh I do ALLLLL my shopping at Tescos and Debenhams and my electric bill is $1,000/month!" WTF? Nice integrity, huh?

2 of the UK commands i was at (NCTAMS london and St Mawgan actually tried getting people to submit copies OF their bills with their survey, but were told by the org that runs the survey "SORRY no dice, just go by what they say, not what is actually done"..


What really irks me through all of this is that there is SO much more wasteful spending in the military. My office will be getting a new All-in-One printer/fax/scanner/DNA sampler/samurai sword maker to replace our current printer that works just fine. This one printer is worth three months of my Utility Allowance.

Agreed. I have been located at places that replaced every damn monitor and desktop computer every 3 years, even if the damn thing does not need it, or each and every piece of office furniture every 2 years... Heck, one command i was at, TOSSED out over 80 boxes of printer ink, cause the command had stockpiled them, but then bought NEW printers with end of year funds, so the stockpile was now useless (though they at least allowed anyone who owned a printer that needed that ink to take it for themselves)..


The DoD is looking at ways to cut spending in any way possible. The proposed BAH decrease is just the beginning. They will eventually force AD retirement checks to go the way of the Guard/Reserve - see you at 60 years old. Tuition assistance will decrease to 50-75%, Tricare will begin co-pays for folks that don't use the clinic, and I can see them ending the combat zone tax exclusion.

Then cut the # of generals, admirals etc.. AND THEIR STAFF!


They can gladly look at docking me out of 20% when the Senate/Congress docks their pay and when we start making people on welfare earn their check. I'm sick of this cost cutting being on the back of the defense industry.

Agreed. Heck i would love to see members of congress live ON a military member's pay check (inc all our allowances)..
THEN see how quickly they are to cut it!


Just because someone has a 5 series doesnt mean they are dropping COLA on it. Unless you know everyone's situation you shouldnt comment on it. I would say more people than not get some kick back from their parents. Also many people do get money from deployments etc. I can without a doubt tell you that after I was in the UK for a year I did not shop at the commissary at all. I did all my shopping at Sainsbury's. My winter energy bill was around 500GBP for a two bedroom and two and a half people. A family of four with the spouse at home all day long could approach that price. Doesnt apply to everyone but its not that far off.

While i will agree, not everyone is that way, i know several people who milked the system for OHA, cola, and AIP (assignment insentive pay) while at the same time using the option of OSEIP for cash, who after finally being forced to leave that place, were able to buy houses FULL OUT with cash. Or in one case a Lambourgini all in cash.


Known of too many examples of this, to include close friends of mine. If it never happened I would not have made that comment. Alas, it does happen and it happens quite frequently. If it touched a nerve with you, I hope it wasn't too bad. Obviously I did not intend to convey that every single service member in Europe uses COLA/UA to buy BMWs...

I too shopped off-base; it cost more but I think the quality of groceries in Europe far exceeds that of the US. I love the UK's free-range eggs, milks, cheeses, and butcher shops. Even UK "junk food" tastes far superior to US junk food - Walker's Crisps are so good. It did cost more than the commissary but not by all that much.

Plus there are just some meals/food you can't get in the commissary that i like.. Cornish pasties, sausage rolls...


As you know I am retired and when I tell my coworkers about a TV lic they look at me like I have two heads. I found my old TV lic in a box of papers and had it framned it hangs over the Bar in my basement. Its good for a laugh when others look at it

I don't know what its like now, but both times i was stationed there, there was part of the TV license law that stated if your US tv was configured to where it could NOT receive terrestrial BBC/ITV programming (IE was hooked up to AFN or just a VCR/DVD player) you did not have to get a license..