Phil Carter has finally gotten to the bottom of the whole "soldiers paying for their meals in hospitals" thing. Good for him.
For the record, "Dem Vet (not Jo Fish -- the Democratic Veteran) and I were trying to kill this story when it first popped up on Atrios' blog. We said, in the comments:
Here's the skinny. I just got off the phone with a Sergeant Major in finance who explained it this way:
Soldiers get paid separate rations any day they don't get their food from the military, which has to pay them. When I went to Bosnia, I just got $8.10 less every day, but I also got a bunch of other benefits. When the military is feeding you, you either don't get your "separate rations" payment (seprats in military-speak) or you have to pay it back.
I honestly think this rule is pretty fair, guys.
Terry | Email | Homepage | 09.11.03 - 2:51 pm | #
(T)he idea is that, if the Big Green Mommy is making you dinner, she shouldn't pay for your Big Mac. I'm pretty sure that no one in Bosnia was getting that $8.10.
Terry | Email | Homepage | 09.11.03 - 3:02 pm | #
Guys, we have real issues to deal with and this kind of thing is silly. The government either pays for your meal or gives you $8.10 on top of your regular pay. That's fair.
Yes, it should have been taken directly from his check so he didn't get a bill for $243 and, yes, they shouldn't have been assholes about it, but these are simply systems, people. A bill comes down that was building up for a month and, since the money should have started flowing out of his pay and into the hospital fund automatically, it looked (to the computer) like it was late. This is not a big deal. It's a simple error and soldiers know these happen. Trust me.
Let's move on.
Terry | Email | Homepage | 09.11.03 - 3:12 pm | #
All military personnel get free food. They either eat for free in the Mess Hall or they receive money. The hospital has to pay it's suppliers for the food it prepares and it charges the soldiers for food they eat. If the soldier isn't getting extra money for rations, his company clerk puts him on food rations for the period of time he's in the hospital. It's just accounting procedures. No soldier is paying extra for his/her food. If Sgt Murwin is receiving money for his food, he needs to pay the hospital. This isn't news to any soldier/sailor.
Dem Vet | Email | 09.11.03 - 3:19 pm | #
(T)he military is finally starting to see the tiny, evil man behind the glowing, flame-spewing, Republicans-support-the-military myth. I'm not saying we shouldn't use what we can against those guys, but smacking them in the face with red herrings is only going to make us look like we don't know how the military works, even though more Dems in congress served in the military than Rethuglicans.
Terry | Email | Homepage | 09.11.03 - 3:28 pm | #
Lets also not forget, that soldiers/marines/sailors aren't children. They shouldn't have to have some big brother taking money out of their paychecks willy-nilly. They know what a bill looks like, they know how to pay them. When there are exceptional circumstances such as a marine in the hosp, then the First Sergeant/Rear First Sergeant is supposed to look out so these things don't fall through the cracks.
Dem Vet | Email | 09.11.03 - 3:51 pm | #