Sunday, Oct. 13, 2002
Setting the record straight on Tricare for Life
To the editor:
I would like to set the record straight concerning statements printed in the Oct. 6 edition of The Meridian Star regarding veterans' healthcare benefits. I was chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee that developed and passed the historic legislation restoring the promise of guaranteed lifetime healthcare for our military retirees, "Tricare for Life," in the fall of 2000.
My congressional position gave me the privilege of being a part of this legislation from beginning to end. In this role, I know who worked for, and against, Tricare for Life. Chip Pickering worked with me to deliver on the promise of health care for life and to provide a pharmacy benefit for military retirees and their families.
Because of his efforts, military retirees and their families have the freedom to live where they want and a choice of health care services and prescription drugs. Mississippi veterans are better off today because of Chip's efforts as we worked with House and Senate leaders during the crafting of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2001, which contained the Tricare for Life provisions.
Chip Pickering authored the Veterans Health Care Improvement Act, which contributed to the eventual legislation, Tricare for Life.
Ronnie Shows, on the other hand, advocated a different approach altogether that would have been more bureaucratic. I did not want to move the military retirees out of the Tricare system to either Medicare or FEHBP at age 65. I wanted military retirees and their dependents staying with the same health care system. That is why I coined the phrase "Tricare for Life."
I applaud the efforts to both men to keep America's promises to its veterans, but the readers of your paper should be aware of the facts. Chip Pickering was one of the original leaders in helping to develop Tricare for Life, and I do not discredit the efforts of Ronnie Shows. I am hopeful you will recognize Chip Pickering's critical role and contribution in passing this historic legislation for our military retirees.
U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer
Member of Congress, Indiana
Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Chairman, Subcommittee on Benefits (1999-2000, 106th Congress)
House Committee on Veterans Affairs
with dignity, helps
To the editor:
I am a veteran with 22 years service in the U.S. Navy. It has been very reassuring to me and to my family to have Chip Pickering as our Congressman. He serves us well and with such dignity.
Last week I received through the mail not one but two copies of Ronnie Shows' latest scare tactic, directed to and designed to frighten the elderly. By taking things out of context, he thinks he can take the liberty of insulting the intelligence of our senior citizens. This is consistent with his many other negative words and untruths.
Others have tried the old "Social Security scare." It always surfaces and it is always deplorable. I believe the senior citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County will not appreciate Shows' tactics and will be instrumental in re-electing Congressman Pickering.
When a candidate doesn't have much to run on, I guess desperation sets in. Most everything you hear from Shows is negative. Everything you hear from Chip Pickering is positive. Chip can run on his record and it's admirable that he chooses not to engage in negative campaigning. He is too much of a statesman and gentleman for that and I'm glad to have a positive thinking congressman.
Chip Pickering knows what's going on in Washington and he makes it his business to know what's going on in our district. When Chip is in Washington, Shows is critical of him for not being in Mississippi. When Chip is in Mississippi, Shows is critical of him for not being in Washington. It's obvious that Chip Pickering is wherever he needs to be whenever he needs to be there.
We don't need a negative thinking congressman and you can be sure that Shows would carry his negative attitude to Washington and you can be sure that he could care less about Meridian and Lauderdale County and the people here that he is desperately trying to hoodwink.
As a veteran and with three kids and four grandkids, I want to take this opportunity to thank Chip Pickering for continuing to serve this district in all our best interest. I want to thank him not only for his stand on keeping promises to our veterans, but also for protecting our Second Amendment right to own guns.
I especially want to thank him for crafting the Veterans Health Care Improvement Act and writing the amendment which led to the inclusion of Tricare for Life and for his persistence and success in getting the secretary of the Veterans Administration to give $1 million in additional funds to Mississippi for adding more health care professionals.
Warren R. Brown
Lt. Cmdr., U.S. Navy, Retired
Keep dreaming, Meridian
To the editor:
I read the comments of a Lauderdale County supervisor regarding the Cooper Development project. He stated, "Meridian needs to stop dreaming and deal with reality." I was absolutely amazed to hear such blatant cynicism and lack of vision from an elected leader in the community.
I believe that great leaders of a company, a nation or a town have a vision for the group that they are leading. To rephrase this, they have a dream of what they want to accomplish. I am curious what vision this supervisor has for the future of Meridian and Lauderdale County.
The supervisor further stated that the numbers did not add up. Money is not the issue here. The issue is "where do you see the community in the future and how are we going to get there." It is possible to have a progressive vision for Lauderdale County and still keep an eye on the checkbook.
The people of Meridian and Lauderdale County must continue to dream. They should dream of new jobs and opportunities for East Mississippi. Without a dream, nothing happens. No Bonita Lakes Mall. No Meridian Opera House. No new jobs. The people should elect leaders who dream of a better life for those they represent.
Greenville (formerly of Meridian)