Defense bill ups health care fees, vets to oppose

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The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has unveiled a defense bill for the next budget year that includes a slight increase in health care fees for working-age military retirees.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon released the bill on Monday. The full committee will consider the legislation on Wednesday and could make changes.

The bill goes along with President Barack Obama’s request to raise fees by $2.50 per month for an individual and $5 per month for a family, the first hike in 11 years. But future increases would be calculated differently than what the administration wants.

The 2.1-million strong Veterans of Foreign Wars promises to fight any increase. They say any hikes aren’t fair to those who gave up 20 years of their youth to serve the nation.