American Legion National Security/Foreign Relations Director Barry Searle (right) stand shows support for Sen. Barbara Boxer's campaign to provide military families with tax-free medical savings accounts. VADM Norb Ryan, Jr., president of the Military Officers Association of America, is also pictured. Photo Craig Roberts

Legion supports flexible spending accounts

At a Thursday press conference, The American Legion literally and figuratively stood behind sponsors of bills being introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to provide flexible spending accounts, sometimes called “medical savings accounts,” for servicemembers. This benefit, say its supporters, would help military families meet child care as well as health care expenses.

A flexible spending account (FSA) allows federal employees to set aside a non-taxable portion of his or her earnings to pay for qualified domestic expenses. It is most commonly used to meet medical expenses not covered by insurance, such as insurance deductibles, copayments for doctor’s office visits, and even such things as medicine cabinet supplies. Currently, military personnel are not allowed to have flexible spending accounts, even though civilians who work for the Department of Defense are provided with them.

The introduction of Senate and House bills to correct this inequity were announced in a joint news conference by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif. In attendance was Barry Searle, director of The American Legion’s National Security/Foreign Relations Division.

American Legion Legislative Director Tim Tetz, who was testifying before the House Veterans Affairs Committee at the time of the news conference, issued a statement on behalf of Legion leadership. “The American Legion is proud to join Sen. Boxer, Rep. Sanchez, and the 112th Congress in introducing this legislation,” he said. “The burdens of serving our nation are shouldered by not only the servicemember, but their families.

“Any programs or benefits such as medical savings accounts are not only deserved, but worthwhile to enhance our support of those serving. Furthermore, to offer a servicemember the same benefit many of us enjoy is a small investment in the morale and welfare of our military and safety and security of our nation.”

Boxer appealed to those attending the news conference, including Searle, to recruit congressional supporters for the bills. “Once I get a number of co-sponsors,” she said, “I will go to (Defense) Secretary Gates and make this happen. I am fired up and ready to go!”


  1. You are continuing down the slippery slope and not supporting your members....YOUR FELLOW VETERANS! Do you or don't you remember that for lower pay, poor conditions,dangerous assignments (most veterans within a 20 year career served in a period of wartime or conflict), family disruptions and WE WERE PROMISED ON PAPER THAT FOR A SERVICE CAREER, WE WOULD RECEIVE FOR OUR SERVICE AND FOR ANY AUTHORIZED DEPENDENTS....FREE MEDICAL and DENTAL care for ours and our spouse's life. You backed Tricare fees and now Tricare manages our access to the Military Treatment Facilities...there is NO SPACE AVAILABLE CARE unless you subscribe to Tricare enhanced. No dental at all in the military facilities, you MUST pay for insurance and now you sugar coat another move even further away from those commitments. Tricare was to ease pressure on the Military Treatment Facilities and VA facilities NOT to run them! The increases in medical treatment charges to DoD are TRICARE HMO driven profits!!!
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