Officials at the Defense Department have proposed to cut $2.2 billion from health care spending over the next five years, Politico reported Sunday.
The proposed cuts are part of an initiative by Defense Secretary Mark Esper to cut unnecessary spending at the Pentagon. But two senior defense officials Politico spoke to said the cost-cutting efforts have been executed too hastily, and that the proposed cuts to health care spending would harm patients.
The $2.2 billion in cuts would be imposed on the defense health system, which serves nearly 10 million active duty personnel, retirees and family members. Leaders would be tasked with finding spending to cut – and that’s where the problem may arise.
“A lot of the decisions were made in dark, smoky rooms, and it was driven by arbitrary numbers of cuts,” a senior official told Politico. “They wanted to book the savings to be able to report it.”
Another official warned that the proposed reductions would reduce the Pentagon’s medical capabilities while saving little money in the end, since the military health system would become more reliant on relatively expensive private health networks to provide care.