The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) voted unanimously on May 24 to approve its version of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization bill. The bill gives about $4 billion less than the funding passed by the House earlier this month and is more in line with President Obama’s spending level request.
Like the House, the SASC rejected Pentagon proposals that would establish enrollment fees for TRICARE Standard and TRICARE for Life and increase TRICARE deductibles and the annual catastrophic cap. However, it does not prohibit the Department of Defense from instituting proposed TRICARE pharmacy copayment changes, which do not require legislation.
Among other major highlights:
The next step for the bill will be a full vote in the Senate, likely later this summer. Should it pass the full Senate, the differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled in conference. Both bills are above the spending caps set by last year’s Budget Control Act.