By Justin Sink - 09/20/11 03:37 PM EDT
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul blasted President Obama's budget-reduction proposal Tuesday, saying that the suggestion to raise co-pays for military veterans is "unjust and immoral."
"Failing to meet the promises we have made to our troops would be unjust and immoral," Paul said in an open letter to Obama. "Our military men and women have fought bravely. In exchange, our country made a promise to them, and we must honor it."
The president's proposal would also eliminate co-pays for mail-order drugs and institute a percentage co-pay rather than a flat-fee for in-pharmacy purchases. The White House says the move will encourage military families to use less expensive prescriptions and save the U.S. $20 billion over 20 years.
The Pentagon has also said that current retirees would be grandfathered in to the program, and would not face proposed cuts to military pension programs.
But veterans groups have opposed the move, and Paul seized on the issue to hammer the president.
The candidate used the proposal as a jumping-off point to reiterate his call for the United States to withdraw from wars in the Middle East.
"Cutting the benefits of our Veterans benefits while we subsidize the security of other wealthy nations like Germany and Japan and play World Policeman makes no sense," Paul said. "The money we would save extracting our fighting men and women and our equipment from overseas conflicts and regions will more than offset the savings you seek by upending the manner in which veterans receive care."